- Pip Benin Rep 2-1 in Uyo
BY VICTOR OSOWOCHI – Nigeria’s Super Eagles on Wednesday night struggled to overcome the Squirrels of Benin Republic 2-1 in the opening Group L match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The Eagles had to fight from a goal down after the visitors made a bright start by opening scores in the 3rd minute of the encounter decided at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium
It was Squirrels’ Stephane Sessegnon who capitalised on a defensive slip by the Eagles to make it 1-0 in favour of the West African neighbours to the chagrin of the vocal home fans
However, France-based Victor Osimhen calmed frayed nerves for Nigerians when he restored parity at 1-1 from the penalty spot just before half time.
Samuel Kalu’s fine solo effort in the 65th minute grabbed the winner to seal a hard-fought victory for Nigeria.
In his post-match press conference, Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Coach Gernot Rohr was full of praise for his players, commending their attitude and fighting spirit that saw them coming from behind to beat Benin Republic 2-1 in the 2021 AFCON, qualifier on Wednesday.
“Benin Republic are good team, we knew what they did in the Afcon but our attitude was good,” Rohr said
“I’m happy with the result, to come back and win. Good to see competitions among the players.
“We are good everywhere in Nigeria, we had good hospitality in Asaba. But it feels good to be back in Uyo,” Rohr added.
With the result, Nigeria currently lead the group standing following the one-all draw played in the other match between Sierra Leone and Lesotho in Freetown.
The Super Eagles are now set to confront the Crocodiles of Lesotho on Sunday in their next qualifying match. The Nigerian delegation will jet out on Friday, November 15 for the battle of Maseru.
In other qualifying encounters, Guinea Bissau beat Eswatini 3-0 in Group I; Malawi shocked Bafana Bafana of South Africa with a lone goal victory in Group B while Cameroon ended their Group F tie with Cape Verde 0-0.
On their part, Namibia pipped Chad 2-1 in Group A, just as Central African Republic beat their Burundian counterparts 2-0 in Group E