CHAN 2018: Faleye’s strike sends Nigeria to Group C summit

CHAN 2018: Faleye’s strike sends Nigeria to Group C summit

Enterprising starlet Sunday Faleye scored eleven minutes from time to give Nigeria a crucial 1-0 win over Libya and send them to the top of Group C at the African Nations Championship in Morocco.

In a game of few clear cut chances, the Shooting Stars striker latched onto Osas Okoro’s corner to score the game’s only goal and end Libya’s nine-game unbeaten run at the African Nations Championships.

Despite a wasteful 0-0 draw against Rwanda in the first game, coach Salisu Yusuf retained the same starting set-up for Friday night’s game at the Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier.

Nigeria were in control for most periods in the opening half but failed to fashion out a clear cut scoring chance with striker Anthony Okpotu failing to connect to a click at the far post the closest they went in the opening half.

Faleye struggled for most of the half, battling with a slippery pitch when in advantageous positions to lead the Eagles on the break. He eventually got a new pair of boots five minutes before the break and that made him a different animal entirely in the second half.

On resumption of play in the second half, Faleye took the game on the scruff of the neck and delivered cross after cross into the penalty box after decisioning his markers with his trickery down the left flank.

Yusuf replaced his treasured striker Anthony Okpotu with Ibrahim Mustapha just after the hour mark and the Enyimba star, coupled with the introduction of Dayo Ojo later on injected more pace to the Eagles’ play.

The game’s only goal would arrive on 79 minutes through a re-taken corner kick by Osas Okoro. The wing back’s delivery was poorly defended by the Libyan defence, allowing Faleye to attack it with a half volley which sailed into Mohammed Nashnoush’s left corner.

Nigeria held on for their all-important victory and inflicted on the Mediterranean Knights, their first defeat since their opening game in the 2011 tournament. Nigeria face Equatorial Guinea in Agadir on Tuesday knowing a victory will most definitely mean they top Group C.

Nigeria lineup
Ezenwa; Okoro, Eze, Okogbue, Itodo; Atuloma, Ifeanyi (Ojo 74′); Ogbugh, Ali, Faleye (Oladapo 88′); Okpotu (Mustapha 62′)

BOOKED: Orji Kalu, Dayo Ojo
GOAL: Sunday Faleye 79′

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