THE Nigeria’s Super Eagles defeated Guinea-Bissau on Monday, January 22, in the last Group A stage match to seal their qualification for the round of 16 knock stage in the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.
The match was played at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium in Abidjan.
The last group stage matches between the four countries in Group A; Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau determined the top two countries to qualify for the next stage.
Before the start of the game, Nigeria was on the second position on the log with four points drawn from their first two matches; a draw against Equatorial Guinea and win against Cote d’Voire.
It needed a win to keep its flag raising at the continental showpiece.
The country’s determination to qualify for the knockout stage of the competition got a boost in the 30 minutes after Guinea-Bissau’s defender Arouna Sangante scored an own goal.
He latched into his net Moses Simon’s cross from the left flank.
The lead increased the confidence of the Super Eagles.
But despite their lead, the Super Eagles who played with 3-4-2-1 formation did not have possessions at the midfield, opening the space for their opponents to control the park.
Before the end of the first half, Victor Oshimen could have increased the tally but nodded the ball wrongly.
The match ended 1-0 in the first half.
The resumption of the second half saw the early attempt at goal by the Super Eagles in the 47 minutes as Moses Simon lost a one on one after he unsuccessfully dribbled past his opponents’ onrushing goalkeeper.
Guinea-Bissau Gomes sought to restore parity in the 59 minutes after his long range goal was parried by Stanley Nwabali.
In the 62 minutes, Raphael Onyedika and Alex Iwobi replaced Frank Onyeka and Joe Aribo respectively.
Super Eagles continued their profligacy as Moses Simon and Victor Osimhen failed to convert their chances, casting a doubt on the scoring ability of the array of attackers.
However, Oshimen and Zaidu Sanusi scored but the center referee Moroccan Bouchra Karboubi ruled them as offside.
Also, at the death of the match, Guinea-Bissau striker scored but was canceled for offside.
The Super Eagles ended the match 1-0 while the other match in the same group between the group table leader; Equatorial Guinea and host nation, Côte d’Ivoire ended in 4-0 in favor of Equatorial Guinea.
In the group, Equatorial Guinea finished at the top position with seven points while Nigeria stayed at the second position with the same seven points.
The difference between the two teams was goal difference as Equatorial Guinea had nine goals to their advantage ahead of Nigeria which finished the group with three goals.
Nigeria will face the country that finishes second in Group F which may be Morocco, Congo DR or Mozambique Sunday, January 28.
Notes; Zimbabwe in the headline was changed to Mozambican.