Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen scored in the first half to hand Coach Peseiro his first win as Super Eagles handler against Sierra Leone on...
|Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen scored in the first half to hand Coach Peseiro his first win as Super Eagles handler against Sierra Leone on Thursday. (Photo credit: TheNFF)|
The Super Eagles of Nigeria survived a scare to begin their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with a win on Thursday over the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.
Coach Jose Peseiro had lost his opening two games in-charge of the Super Eagles to Mexico and Ecuador respectively and needed Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen to bail him out after his lads started the game on a wrong footing.
Sierra Leone has been a thorn in the flesh of the Nigerian side for a while now, notably coming back from four goals down to draw level in Lagos in 2021 in the 2022 World Cup qualifier – thunder was itching to strike on same spot before Super Eagles rallied to a win.
The visitors were the lively side in the opening exchanges but they could have been pegged back early on when the referee waved off a penalty call in the Leone Stars area with replays showing Kamara handled the ball in his own box.
Francis Uzoho kept the score line intact few minutes later as the visitors laid siege in the Nigeria half and they were soon rewarded with the opener. Jonathan Morsey latched on to a lose ball in the Nigerian area and the visitors wheeled away in celebration much to the dismay of the Nigerian supporters.
All tales of heartbreaks were soon put to bed as Alex Iwobi side-footed home a beauty after collecting a pass from Moses Simon and danced through the Leone Stars defense. It was a heartwarming goal for the much-criticized Everton winger.
The Super Eagles labored hard to contain the energetic visitors and soon got a foothold on the game towards halftime. Victor Osimhen tucked in what became the winner just before halftime, off a headed pass from Simon.
Nigeria should have doubled the advantage in the 51st minute but Villareal winger Samuel Chukwueze missed a sitter from close range with only the keeper to beat. Nigeria held on for a precious win and will continue their quest to qualify for the Nations Cup in Ivory Coast in 2023 with an away trip on Monday to Sao Tome and Principe.