Breaking: Ighalo Hands Super Eagles 2019 AFCON Win - AMEBO NEWSPAPERS NG.


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Breaking: Ighalo Hands Super Eagles 2019 AFCON Win

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Three time African champions, the Super Eagles of Nigeria started their campaign for a fourth title with a nervy 1-0 win over the Swallows of Burundi. A second half goal by substitute Odion Ighalo was all Gernot Rohr’s men needed for the first three points.

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr announced his starting XI to face the Sparrows of Burundi in Nigeria’s AFCON 2019 opener, dropping Odion Ighalo, Francis Uzoho and Jamilu Collins for Paul Onuachi, Daniel Akpeyi and Ola Aina respectively in a 4-3-3 formation

The Super Eagles opened their quest for a fourth AFCON title when they headed into the game with the debutants in the opening match of Group B, but where without Samuel Kalu for the encounter against the Swallows after the Bordeaux man collapsed in training on Friday..


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The three-time African champions began the game comfortably, moving the ball around as they planned to pass out the back. Samuel Chukwueze and Alex Iwobi’s pace on the wings proved to be too much for the Burundi defenders to handle and Paul Onuachu got an attempt to score within the first 5 minutes,

While Nigeria were exciting in attack, they were a bit shaky in defence. Shehu Abdullahi was shaken off the ball twice very early in the first half and the Sparrows tried to exploit his wing. Ola Aina and Shehu Abdullahi were very good getting forward to help the Nigerians in attack but the entire defence looked shaky in defence when put under pressure.

The game sparked into life when Onuachu got a header on goal forcing the goalkeeper to make a strong save. Burundi replied immediately with their own shot just outside the six-yard box forcing Akpeyi to make a save at point-blank range.

Nigeria attempted to break the resolute defence of Burundi with a string of lovely passes with the front three of Iwobi, Onuachu, and Chukwueze linking up well with Mikel Obi in midfield. The Burundi defence held their own and limited the Nigerians to floating crosses from deep and wing positions.

Daniel Akpeyi gave Nigerian fans a scare when he fumbled a backpass to give the Burundians a corner. The Kaizer Chiefs shot-stopper was constantly put under pressure by Abdul Razak.

Nigeria continued to dominate the state of play with Ndidi and Etebo pulling the strings from midfield. Iwobi continued to create chances in the box after. Just before the half-hour mark, he brought down a cross from Aina and skillfully created space to pick out Chukwueze who could not hit the target.

Burundi was unable to create chances because of the dominant displays of the Nigerian midfielders and resorted to taking shots from long range and came very close as Nshimirimana’s header came off the corner of the post. Replay shows Akpeyi might have had a finger touch to it.

The Super Eagles would end the first half with a forced substitution as Chidozie Awaziem went in for an injured Abdullahi Shehu as the right back got stretched off.

The second 45 minutes started brightly for Nigeria as Iwobi and Musa combined together with the latter’s square pass is intercepted by Nahimana in goal. Next was Samuel Chukwueze, as the Villarreal youngster left a trail of four Burundians as he dribbled his way into the box but in the absence of any green shirt around, he chipped an effort over from just inside the box.

Glory would come for Rohr’s side as substitute Odion Ighalo put Nigeria in front moments after coming on for Paul Onuachu. A sublime back heeled pass by Ola Aina and an emphatic first time effort by the China based forward was all the Super Eagles needed to go ahead in the game.

The Super Eagles now move their attention to their second game against Guinea on Wednesday as the Burundians take on Madagascar at the Alexandria Stadium on Thursday.

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