Nigeria in AFCON round of 16 after win against Guinea
Nigeria’s Super Eagles Wednesday afternoon became the first team to qualify for the round of 16 in the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 in Egypt.
The Super Eagles defeated their opponent Guinea with a lone goal by Keneth Omeruo in the 77th minute.
With two wins out of three, Nigeria sits atop group B with six points.
Early in the game, the Super Eagles survived a scare when Guinea’s Fansua Kamano struck from outside the 18-yard area for Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi to punch out.
Nigeria had two great chances of getting ahead early in the game but both were flunked. Moses Simon dribbled past two defenders to connect Alex Iwobi, who hesitated with the ball despite facing the post.
Similarly, Ahmed Musa had a blistering run to beat a defender on the right and passed to Odion Ighalo in the 28th minute but was closed in by Guinea’s central defenders- Simon Falette and Ernest Seka for goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone to gather.
After the two early attacks, the Super Eagles did little link play from the midfield to the attack. Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, who replaced captain John Obi Mikel struggled for most period of the game until the second half.
The Super Eagles grew into the game in the second half and pressured the Guinean defence with a shot by Ola Aina and two shots from Iwobi saved by the goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone.
Nigeria broke the deadlock in the 77th minute when Moses Simon floated a corner close to an on-rushing Omeruo, who headed to the right pole of Guinea’s goal to put Nigeria ahead.
The Super Eagles struggled to link passes between the midfield to the attack but used the wings through Simon Moses on the right flank and Ahmed Musa on the left to penetrate the Guinea defence.
Unlike the Super Eagles attack that had little to bit in Guinea’s defence, Nigeria’s defensive duo of Leon Balogun and Omeruo were resolute to every threat from their opponents.
While the wingers did little for the Super Eagles in the attack, the midfield duo of Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo were too busy to help the attack as Liverpool’s Naby Keita and Kamano continued to pose threats.
But as the game progressed in the second half, the Guineans became less threatening as they did in the first half.
With two wins out of three, Nigeria sits atop group B with six points while Guinea stays third with a point off a 2 – 2 draw against Madagascar in their first match.
Guinea’s qualification hopes hangs in balance when they face Burundi on Sunday.
Nigeria will play Madagascar in their last group stage match on the same day.