A Super Eagles of Nigeria side shorn of their first choice players beat Cape Verde 2-1 in Mindelo to consolidate their leadership position in Group C of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying series.
Playing at the 5,000 capacity Estádio Municipal Adérito Sena and without eight United Kingdom based players, the Eagles rode on their luck and scored two rather fortuitous goals but they will not care in the end with three points in the bag.
On a day team captain Ahmed Musa claimed his 100th international cap, head coach Gernot Rohr handed international debuts to Bologna midfielder Kingsley Michael and Malmo star Innocent Bonke while Musa started off team’s top striker Victor Osimhen.
Winger Chidera Ejuke was also given a chance to impress with his first start in a competitive fixture for the Super Eagles. Abdullahi Shehu was restored at right back in a competitive game for the first time in two years while Kenneth Omeruo and Chidozie Awaziem partnered at the heart of defence.
The Blue Sharks of Cape Verde took the lead slightly against the run of play in the 19th minute after Daylan Tavares beat an offside trap to finish beyond Nigerian goalkeeper Maduka Okoye who should have really done better to cover his near post.
The Super Eagles equalised ten minutes later through Osimhen who knocked home a rebound after goalkeeper Vozinha had prevented what could have been an own goal by defender Roberto Lopes.
With both teams looking contented with a point in the second half, Christmas gift came in early for Nigeria in the name of Kenny Rocha Santos whose attempted long back pass to Vozinha looped over the goalkeeper and into the net with fourteen minutes left on the clock.
Maduka Okoye's part in the Cape Verde goal tho. 🙊— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) September 7, 2021
With the player's only option on the left foot, how does he not know that the near post has to be covered first? Not too good. pic.twitter.com/VV1Vgxes8w
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The win means Nigeria remain in pole position in Group C of qualifying and can wrap up progress to the final round with back to back wins over Central African Republic (CAR) in October. CAR play their home matches in Douala, Cameroon.
Okoye; Shehu, Omeruo, Awaziem, Collins; Innocent Bonke, Kingsley Michael; Moses Simon (Onyekuru 73′), Osimhen (Onuachu 84′), Ahmed Musa (Moffi 73′), Chidera Ejuke (Z. Sanusi 84′).