Nigeria 4-4 Sierra Leone: Super Eagles' show of shame in Benin as Sierra Leone come from 4 goals down to draw in the Total AFCON 2021 Qualifier match.
|Super Eagles celebrate before the second half debacle on Friday against Sierra Leone. (Photo credit: @TheNFF)|
Never in a million years would Nigerians expect the Super Eagles to bottle a four-goal lead, on home soil, to a team way below them on FIFA rankings, before bare eyes and wondering hearts, it happened.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria hosted Lone stars of Sierra Leone on Friday in the latest installment of their AFCON 2021 qualifiers and in line with relatable street lingo, it ended in premium tears, not only for fans but for neutrals who probably had their life savings on the game.
Football, as we’ve known it to be, can dumbfound the strongest of teams and elate the weakest of the same.
From international football to league games across the globe, we’ve seen sensational comebacks and whatnots, but Nigeria’s capitulation on Friday at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium left everything to be desired.
Nigeria fielded a strong eleven with the return to form of Efe Etebo and Joe Aribo.
Maduka Okoye returned in goal and the same center-back pairing of Leon Balogun and William Troost Ekong returned as well.
Ahmed Musa was handed a starting shirt in place of the erratic Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi sat in the hole behind the striker of the day, Victor Osimhen.
It wasn’t long before Nigeria registered the first goal with Alex Iwobi firing the Super Eagles into the lead in the opening minutes of the game.
Nigeria went on rampage and Victor Osimhen ran past a defender before slotting coolly for Nigeria’s second.
Two became three in no time, Alex Iwobi pounced on a loose ball and lobbed the goalkeeper unawares.
Samuel Chukwueze then took laws into his own hands, dancing around two defenders before firing in fiercely to send Nigeria 4-0 up and it wasn’t even halftime yet.
The Super Eagles self-destruct in the second half
There were flashes of what’s to come from the visitors but Nigeria didn’t heed the warning, a defensive mix up handed Sierra Leone a goal back in the first half but fans still would never see the implosion that followed coming.
Gernot Rohr made some changes, Ahmed Musa was withdrawn for Kelechi Iheanacho and Leon Balogun was replaced too.
A bad looking injury to Victor Osimhen also prompted his removal but still, you wouldn’t expect anything to change against Nigeria.
In quick succession, Nigerians watched in horror as Sierra Leone scored three goals in the second half to draw level and if you ask them, they’d be confident that they would have won it had they had more time in the game.
Fans went on a rampage outside the stadium having been banished from the pitchside due to the coronavirus precautions and it took military intervention to get the players out of the stadium safely.
Nigeria leads group L regardless and will play Sierra Leone in a return leg next Tuesday.