Nigeria, yesterday, joined Cameroon, Morocco in securing a second-round berth in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). The Super Eagles defeated Sudan’s Falcons of Jediane 3-1 in the second match of Group D.
With the victory in the encounter, which took place at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua, Cameroun, the Super Eagles, for the very first time, won their opening two matches at an Africa Cup of Nations in consecutive tournaments, according to the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF).
Goals from Samuel Chukwueze in the third minute, Taiwo Awoniyi (45th), and Moses Simon (46th) were all the three-time AFCON winners needed to progress to the second round of the tournament.
The Eagles began the match on a warning note when a build-up by the Nigerian team saw Moses Simon connecting Chukwueze, who in the midst of several Sudanese defenders, shot straight to beat Goalkeeper Ali Abdullah Abou.
The Sudanese then almost caused a scare in the seventh minute, but the attacker failed to convert the begging opportunity.
The Eagles again had the chance to increase the tally in the 35th minute but failed to score. A clear chance also beckoned at the team in the 40th minute when Joe Aribo got a pass from Taiwo Awoniyi, but that too failed to count, until the last minute of the first half when the tally was raised.
In the first minute of the second half, Simon who began a build-up outside the opponent’s 18th-yard box, suddenly found himself in a scoring position. He wasted no time in displacing the Sudanese goalkeeper to make it 3-0.
Sudan later got a consolation goal after Ola Aina was judged to have fouled a Sudanese attacker, who was in a scoring position in the 69th minute through a VAR recall. Walieldin Khidir eventually scored the resultant penalty kick in the 70th minute to reduce the tally.
The introduction of Alex Iwobi in place of Chukwueze in the 46th minute seemed to have brought life back into the Eagles’ midfield, with opportunities to increase the scoreline rising, but with the team failing to utilise them.
Kelechi Iheanacho, who looked tired was pulled out for Ahmed Musa in the 65th minute, and another replacement by Coach Augustine Eguavoen saw Joe Aribo coming off for Kelechi Nwakali. But the Eagles looked satisfied with the scoreline till the referee blew the final whistle to end the uneven encounter that favoured the Eagles.
Speaking after the match, Eguavoen said he was satisfied with the conduct of the players, even though he admitted that it was a work in progress.
“I am impressed with the way and manner that our players conducted themselves. We will go back and look for a way to improve on this performance.
“I commend the players and I also appreciate the support of all Nigerians. We will continue to do our best. We will savour this victory this moment before we plan for the last group match against Guinea Bissau,” Eguavoen said.
Scorer of the first goal, Chukwueze, said he would continue to do his best for the Super Eagles, just as he called on Nigerians to continue to support the team.
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