By John Essien
The Super Eagles of Nigeria on Thursday began their quest to qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on a winning note as they came from behind to beat their counterparts from Sierra Leone 2-1.
After falling to an early goal, Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen scored a goal each to give Nigeria the victory that has seen them begin their quest for qualification with the maximum points on offer.
Jose Peseiro’s men started Thursday’s game on the back foot as they were punished for sloppy defending in the opening minutes with Jonathan Morsay heading the Leone Stars to a shock lead.
The state of the pitch looked to have played a role in the Eagles sloppy display at the early stages as goalkeeper Francis Uzoho was kept busy in the opening minutes.
The Super Eagles expectedly began to pile the pressure on their opponents but their efforts failed to yield the results they hoped for.
However, the Leone Stars soon had their lead canceled out as a spirited performance from Nigeria saw the three-time African kings come from behind to grab an equaliser after Iwobi had combined excellently with Moses Simon.
Victor Osimhen made it two for Nigeria just before half-time to put the home team on advantage heading into the break.
The tense clash continued from where it stopped in the second half; as both teams continued to pile the pressure on each other and carving out chance after chance but they were unable to score as the game ended 2-1 in favour of Nigeria.
The win was Nigeria’s first recorded victory under their Portuguese tactician who was appointed to lead the charge in May.
The match was played behind closed doors due to an imposed ban on Nigeria by FIFA.
Up next for Nigeria is a trip to Morocco where the they will face Sao Tome and Principe on June 13.