Moses Simon’s 30th minute goal from the penalty spot was all Nigeria’s Super Eagles needed in Bissau yesterday evening to ease pressure on them and move back to the top of their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying Group A.
The 1-0 win against Guinea Bissau inside the Estadio 24 de Setembro in Bissau, was a big relief for Coach Jose Peseiro and his wards after the Wild Dogs snatched a famous win by same margin in Abuja last Friday.
The Napoli front man, Victor Osimhen, and Samuel Chukwueze of Villarreal in the Spanish LaLiga could not convert the many chances that came their ways in the first half, before Moses Simon made good from six yards to put Nigeria in front for the first time in the fixture.
The Wild Dogs looked dangerous as they did in the first leg in Abuja but failed to unscramble the new Kenneth Omeruo/Semi Ajayi equation in the centre of Nigeria’s defence, even as Bright Osayi-Samuel again showed plenty of evidence that he has come to stay at the Super Eagles’ right back.
Osimhen was denied by the upright in the 59th minute when he flashed a shot past Guinea Bissau goalkeeper, Jonas Mendes. Four minutes later, the leading goals scorer in Italy again blew simply blew it skywards after being put through by Samuel Chukwueze.
In the 69th minute, Osimhen was again foiled by the alertness and diligence of Mendes after Simon sliced one from the left flank. Two minutes later, substitute Joe Aribo was also cracking his knuckles after Mendes got a strong hand to push over his fierce shot from just outside the box.
Victory meant the Eagles returned to the top with nine points, with Guinea Bissau second on seven and Sierra Leone, who spanked Sao Tome and Principe earlier on Wednesday, third on five points.
The next round of the qualifiers will be in June, when Nigeria travel away to Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau take on bottom-placed Sao Tome and Principe.
TEAM P W D L GF GA GD PTS
Nigeria 4 3 0 1 13 2 11 9
G’Bissau 4 2 1 1 8 4 4 7
S’Leone 4 1 2 1 7 6 1 5
São Tomé 4 0 1 3 3 19 – 16 1
G’Bissau 0-1 Nigeria
CAR 2-0 Mad’gascar
Angola 1-1 Ghana
Niger 0-1 Algeria
S’Sudan 0-1 Congo