AFCON2023Q: Super Eagles limp to win over Wild Dogs
Moses Simon penalty gives Super Eagles narrow win
Nigeria’s Super Eagles saved face in Bissau by claiming a narrow 1-0 win over the Wild Dogs of Guinea-Bissau to return to the top of Group A of the AFCON 2023 Qualifiers. FC Nantes winger Moses Simon scored the lone goal for the Nigerians in the first half to hand them maximum points.
On the back of a humbling defeat in Abuja only three days prior, Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro rang the changes, with five new faces making their way into the XI for the match. Kenneth Omeruo, Semi Ajayi, Frank Onyeka, Moses Simon and Terem Moffi started in place of Calvin Bassey, Kevin Akpoguma, Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman.
The Super Eagles started out the brighter of both teams but failed to register any decent openings, with Moffi seeing an effort from inside the box blocked by outstanding rearguard action from the home side.
Half an hour into the game, the visitors went ahead through Simon, who scored his eighth goal for his country from the spot. Marauding Fenerbahce right-back Bright Osayi-Samuel got past Fali Conde in the box and the Guinea-Bissau defender hacked him down, causing the referee to point to the spot. Simon sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to open the scoring.
Guinea-Bissau came back strongly into the game and were only denied an equaliser by poor finishing after good approach play towards the end of the first half.
The second half started in a similar vein, with the Super Eagles dominating possession while the Djurtus looked to play on the break. Napoli star Victor Osimhen had endured a quiet evening, but came to life in the 59th minute with a swivel and shot inside the box that came back off the upright with the goalkeeper beaten.
Francis Uzoho nearly gave away a goal after some comical play saw him give the ball away at the edge of his penalty area, only for a combination of Uzoho and the retreating Omeruo to prevent the home side from scoring.
The Super Eagles were typically wasteful, with Samuel Chukwueze, in particular, guilt of over playing at times. They, however, held on for an unconvincing win over the Djurtus. The result sends the Nigerian side back to the top of the group with nine points, ahead of Guinea-Bissau on seven points. They next face a trip to Sierra Leone before closing out their qualifying campaign at home to Sao Tome & Principe.