By Ayodele Ayelomi
The Super Eagles of Nigeria ended their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification campaign on a perfect note beating Pirates of Seychelles 3-1 at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on Friday. The win put them at the top of Group E as the qualification matches came to an end.
The Super Eagles , who started their AFCON ticket qualification with a home loss to the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, had done a quick turn about by overtaking the South Africans and booked their place at this year’s tournament with a 1-1 draw in Johannesburg last year.
In the opening minutes of the match, Seychelles’s goalkeeper Ian Ah-Kon was superb denying Udinese Calcio defender William Troost Ekong from puting the Eagles ahead and also thwarted middlefielder, Wilfred Ndidi’s effort.
Nine minutes into the game, the visitors almost got ahead but goalkeeper Francis Uzoho was up to the occassion as he produced a timely save.
From then on, it was cases of misplaced passes and missed chances as the two teams struggled to come to terms with the Pitch at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.
The Eagles were handed the opportunity to draw the curtain raiser in the 35th minute when Wilfred Ndidi was fouled by Saminadin Gervey. Karle Hall was booked for dissent.
Shanghai Shenhua forward Odion Ighalo easily discharged the goal from the penalty spot as he sent Kong the wrong way for his seventh goal of the qualifiers.
In the 38th minute, Oghenekaro Etebo was foiled by the Seychelles keeper, who brilliantly saved his free kick.
it was Uzoho’s costly mistake that gave the visitors the equaliser in the 40th minute as he parried a tame free kick to the path of Rody Melanie who slotted it home.
the match ended 1-1 at half time.
Bayern Munich and PSG target Henry Onyekuru headed home a measured left-wing cross from Jamilu Collins for the Eagles’ second goal in the 50th minute.
As the game progressed, striker Ebere Onuachu was handed his Eagles debut as he replaced Etebo while Semi Ajayi replaced Alex Iwobi in the midfield.
Substitute Moses Simon lightened up the mood of fans with the Eagles’ third goal in the first minute of additional time. He fired low beyond Kong. from a Jamilu’s assist.
By Ayodele Ayelomi