Nigeria Super Eagles have booked their place at the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast (AFCON2023) following a gritty 3-2 win over Sierra Leone on Sunday, www.aclsports.com reports.
The Super Eagles have arrived 🦅
— CAF (@CAF_Online) June 18, 2023
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Nigeria, who needed just a point from the game played at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in Monrovia, Liberia, qualified for the football event with an outright win with one game to spare.
Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho came off the bench to score the winner in a match where the Super Eagles surrendered a two-goal lead.
Jose Peseiro handed a first start to Israel-based goalkeeper Adebayo Adeleye, while Kenneth Omeruo was selected to partner Semilore Ajayi at the heart of the defense as Willam Troost-Ekong found himself on the bench. While the trio of in-form Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze, and Moses Simon all lined up in the attack.
After some period of dominance in the first half, Jose Peseiro’s Super Eagles went in front through Victor Osimhen’s 19th-minute composed finish, and minutes after the half-hour mark, the Napoli forward completed his brace to hand Nigeria a comfortable lead before the half-time break.
With sights on the break, the Eagles took their feet off the gas and they were punished. Mustapha Bundu fired past goalkeeper Adeleye to grab a goal back for the Leone Stars after Nigeria lost possession cheaply in midfield.
From that moment on, Sierra Leone took charge of the game and it was only a matter of time before they found their second goal. Augustus Kargbo’s fierce effort from the edge of the area in the 84th minute got them their equalizer. Peseiro’s men continued to struggle as Adeleye made big stops to deny the home side from going in front.
Adebayo Adeleye didn’t do badly at all in spite of the tendency to want to think he could do better with the goals. His ball handling is superb and he did make those saves too.
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) June 18, 2023
However, when it looked like the match was heading for a stalemate, Saidu Sanusi produced a moment of brilliance. He dribbled through the Sierra Leonean defense before setting up Iheanacho with a simple tap-in to snatch all three points for Nigeria.
As a result, the Super Eagles qualified, alongside Guinea-Bissau, for the 2023 Afcon finals after garnering a dozen of points in five games which sees them at the top of Group A standings. Nigeria will round up the qualifiers at home against Sao Tome and Principe in September.