Nigeria’s Super Eagles kicked-off their campaign of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers Group C at the Teslim Balogun stadium, Lagos with a 2-0 win over Liberia on Friday evening.
Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho netted a brace for Nigeria who are gunning for a seventh appearance at the World Cup.
The Gernot Rohr tutored-side pressed for an early goal and went close within two minutes of the game, but Alex Iwobi’s pass onto the path of Victor Osimhen was cleared while Moses Simon saw the ball nicked away from him afterwards.
In the 18th minute, Glasgow Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo swiveled and fired wide after a superb combination passes by the duo of Iwobi and Simon to tee him up.
There was a collective calm inside the Teslim Balogun stadium as Iheanacho netted the first goal in the 22nd minute when he found space in the right wing and let fly a shot that went past the hands of Liberia goalkeeper Ashley Williams.
Victor Osimhen missed a gilt edged chance to double Nigeria’s lead with five minutes left to play in the first half with his close effort after Iwobi’s shot was spilled by goalkeeper Ashley went agonizingly wide.
Iheanacho completed his brace with a minute left in the half when he hit home the ball from similar position as his first strike.
The Eagles won a throw-in at the opposition half with Everton forward Iwobi directing his header to the Leicester City star to finish.
The Eagles missed another chance to put the game to bed in the 47th minute.
Osimhen’s control of the ball inside the eighteen-yard box was disappointing as the Liberian goalkeeper parried the ball away, Ola Aina crossed it but a poor header from Iheanacho saw the developing goal fizzle away.
Wilfred Ndidi waltzed his way into the Liberian vital area ten minutes into the second half but his low shot was deflected which an onrushing Iwobi was unable to pounce upon from two yards.
Liberia’s Marcus Macauley almost reduced the arrears for his country as he took advantage of a sloppy Eagles back-line with 24 minutes played in the second half but his effort at the edge of the box was offside.
The Eagles could not score a third goal but ultimately take three points to their next game against Cape Verde on Tuesday in their second game of the qualifiers.
Interestingly, at end of the encounter Kelechi Iheanacho was declared the Man of the Match, while Alex Iwobi was named the Most Valuable Player.
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