A largely second string Super Eagles side on Wednesday night outclassed the Guinea-Bissau national team 2-0 to end the group stage of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with a 100% record.
Head coach Augustine Eguavoen made eight changes to his starting eleven but that did not deter his side from claiming superiority over their West African opposition who needed a win to progress.
The Super Eagles should indeed have gone in front in the goalless first half if only Sadiq Umar had converted a couple of chances that came his way.
Aside half chances, the forward spurned a glorious opportunity midway through the first half after he was put through by a brilliant pass by Kelechi Nwakali. He attempted to round the goalkeeper which turned out unsuccessful.
The Almeria forward however made amends when he finished Kelechi Iheanacho’s pass at the far post seconds before he was replaced by Eguavoen with AFCON debutant Peter Olayinka with Moses Simon taking the place of Chidera Ejuke.
Nigeria got a second in electric fashion fifteen minutes from time. Substitute Moses Simon weaved some piece of magic, going past his markers with glee and exchanging passes with Alex Iwobi before seeing his effort come off the cross bar; but fortunately, captain William Troost-Ekong was on hand to tap home.
Guinea-Bissau coach Baciro Candé tried to change his playing personnel with a raft of substitutions in the second half but it mattered little to the Nigerians who were unmoved in all departments of the game.
The win marked the first time Nigeria would finish a group stage campaign at the AFCON with maximum points since 2006, when Eguavoen led the Eagles to a third place finish in Egypt.
Nigeria will remain in Garoua for their round of 16 game on Sunday. Egypt finished second in the group with a 1-0 win over Sudan in Yaounde.
Nigeria XI: Uzoho; Ebuehi (Ndah 76′), Troost-Ekong, Semi Ajayi, Collins; Ndidi, Nwakali (Onyeka 76′); Iwobi, Iheanacho (Onyekuru 85′), Ejuke (Simon 57′), Umar (Olayinka 57′).
Fisayo Dairo reporting from Garoua, Cameroon