AFCON 2023: Super Eagles beat Guinea-Bissau to qualify for round of 16

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles have qualified for the round of 16 of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) with a 1-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau in the final match of Group A.

Jose Peseiro’s men went into the match with much-needed confidence after beating host Ivory Coast courtesy of a well-taken penalty by captain William Troost-Ekong.

The Portuguese fielded a lineup with Kenneth Omeruo replacing Ekong as Nigeria’s captain and Joe Aribo replacing Everton’s Alex Iwobi, while Alhassan Yusuf remained sidelined due to an injury.

Guinea-Bissau earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory at the MKO Abiola Stadium in game four of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series and were hoping for a repeat.

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However, striker Victor Osimhen made Nigeria’s intentions clear as early as the fifth minute of the game. However, his shot was off target, barely troubling the opposing goalkeeper.

Despite early pressure from the Super Eagles, the Wild Dogs maintained their cool and gradually gained control of the game as Nito attempted a long-range shot. However, Stanley Nwabali would make a good save.

A point would have been enough for Nigeria to advance, but Guinea-Bissau was determined to deny them that opportunity, taking the majority of possession in the early exchanges.

The Wild Dogs caused problems for Nigeria’s defence, with Dalcio Gomes just missing out on an overhead ball that beat Omeruo.

Nigeria, on the other hand, would get a fortunate break in the 37th minute when Opa Sangante smashed Moses Simon’s cross into his net while attempting to prevent Osimhen from tapping in behind him.

Osimhen had a chance to double Nigeria’s lead late in the first half, but he was unable to make contact with Simon’s cross.

 

 

The second half resumed with Simon missing a golden opportunity to make it two as Mendes stretched out an arm to claim the ball.

In search of a second goal, Peseiro made some changes, bringing in Alex Iwobi for Joe Aribo. The substitute was immediately involved in the action, but his shot from an inviting Simon cross went wide at the edge of the box.

Nigeria finished second in Group A with seven points, after Equatorial Guinea defeated hosts Cote d’Ivoire 4-0. The Central Africans had the best goal difference of any team.

Guinea-Bissau’s Franculino Dju had a goal ruled out at the other end, and they finished with three defeats after being eliminated before this game.

Despite defeating Nigeria in qualifying last March, they have yet to win a game in 12 attempts, including four appearances at the Cup of Nations.

What’s next? 

The Super Eagles will face the runner-up of Group C, Senegal, Guinea, or Cameroon, at the iconic Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in their last-16 clash on Saturday. 

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