Sports

AFCON Qualifiers: Super Eagles trashes Benin with a goal

Super Substitute, Paul Onuachu was late match winner for the Super Eagles to qualify in style to the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon at the expense of home team Benin.

This also ended the hosts’ eight-year unbeaten run at home.

Unlucky Benin were just seconds away from also qualifying for the AFCON, only for the Genk striker to head home off a goalmouth scramble.

The Squirrels will now have to seal qualification Tuesday against Sierra Leone, who drew 0-0 in Lesotho earlier today.

Nigeria now have an unassailable 11 points to win the group even before Tuesday’s final qualifier in Lagos against Lesotho.

The Eagles dominated this West African derby from start to finish and would have won it much earlier, but for some ill luck and some great goalkeeping by Saturnin Allagbe.

As widely expected this match-up was not going to be a spectacle, but the home team could still not cope with a Nigerian team, who played mostly on Gear 2.

The visitors enjoyed more of the ball and created the better chances beginning with a seventh minute shot from distance by Iheanacho, which was kept out by the heroic Benin shot stopper.

The Eagles continued to threaten and ought to have gone into the break with at least a goal, but goalkeeper Allagbe somehow blocked for a corner a goal-bound header by Henry Onyekuru off a sweet cross by Zaidu Sanusi.

Osimhen will then be denied only by the post in the 56th minute, when he let fly from outside the box as the Eagles continued to pile on the pressure.

In a rare attack, Benin most dangerous forward Steve Mounie will be denied by Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye in the 62nd minute.

It would have been a goal against the run of play.

Allagbe again denied Osimhen will a full-stretch dive on the dot of time.

And the encounter looked like finishing on level pegging before the stoppage time winner by ‘Big Paul’ Onuachu.

Nigeria will play their final AFCON qualifier against Lesotho Tuesday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

Nigeria Starting XI (4-2-3-1) – Maduka Okoye – Zaidu Sanusi, Ola Aina (Chidozie Awaziem), Leon Balogun, William Ekong (Captain) – Wilfred Ndidi, Joe Aribo – Henry Onyekuru (Anayo Iwuala 81), Samuel Chukwueze, Kelechi Iheanacho (Paul Onuachu 70) – Victor Osimhen

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