NIGERIA’S Super Eagles have secured a maximum six points from their opening two games of the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers after beating Lesotho 4-2 in Maseru this afternoon to win their second game in two weeks.
On Wednesday, the Eagles got their Group L qualification off to a flying start with a 2-1 victory over the Republic of Benin in Uyo. As happened during the week, the Eagles had to come from behind again in Lesotho toady as they went behind after 11 minutes when the centreback Semi Ajayi was caught napping and Nkoto Masoabi headed home.
After going behind, however, the Eagles rallied, put6ting the Crocodiles under pressure and thanks to good work by Victor Osimhen, they drew level in the 26th minute. Dispossessing the Lesothans on the edge of their area, Osimhen fed the ball through to Alex Iwobi who drilled the ball past Ntsane Lichaba for The Crocodiles for the equaliser.
On 36 minutes, Osimhen turned provided again lifting the ball above the Lesothan defence, allowing team mate Samuel Chukwueze score with an easy header. Despite numerous chances afterwards, the Lesothans held on and managed to keep the scores at 1-2 going into the break.
At the restart, the Eagles came out all guns blazing, with Osimhen firing on all cylinders and as the Lesothans appeared to tire, only the woodwork and good goalkeeping prevented them from going further behind early on. Lesotho managed to hold out until the 75th minute but got caught out when Osimhen slid home pass from substitute Ramon Azeez to make it 3-1.
Nine minutes later, Osimhen doubled his tally as he finished off a swift counter-attack, exploiting the fact that the Lesothans were pouting forward in search of a goal. With the Eagles 4-1 up in the 84th minute and coasting, Osimhen picked up a knee injury, which is certain to cause some consternation at his club Lille.
Just before the end, Nigeria gifted Lesotho a goal when rightback Chigozie Awaziem, who had a questionable game, diverted the ball into his own net to make it 4-2. Awaziem was lucky to still be on the pitch at that point after committing what looked like a professional foul when he brought a goalbound opposing striker down.m
Despite that setback, it was a comfortable victory for Nigeria and the Eagles now have a clear lead at the top of the group with two wins from two. Benin Republic are in second place with three points after beating Sierra Leone 1-0 today, while the two other teams have a point apiece.