A brace from in-form striker Victor Osimhen and a 95th-minute goal from Kelechi Iheanacho was enough to send the Super Eagles to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast as they pipped dogged Sierra Leone 3-2 at the S.K.D Stadium in Monrovia, Liberia in a Group A matchday 5 fixture on Sunday.
The victory also sees the three-time African champions return to the top of the table displacing Guinea-Bissau who had defeated Sao Tome and Principe 1-0 away from home in their Group A penultimate game.
The first half had started brightly for Nigeria as In-form striker Victor Osimhen opened the scoring in the 19th minute by chipping the onrushing Leone Stars goalkeeper to give the Eagles a deserved lead. The Italian Serie A top scorer once again controlled Joe Aribo’s perfect cross into the box to score Nigeria’s second in the 32nd minute.
Nigeria had thought they would take a commanding 2-0 advantage into the second half but was pegged back in the 41st minute through Mustapha Bundu.
The Leone Stars believed they had earned a draw when Abu Diaby grabbed the equalizer in the 84th minute, however, it was Nigeria who left Monrovia with the maximum points with Leicester City’s Iheanacho breaking the hearts of the Sierra Leonians with a 95th-minute tap in after an impressive run from left-back Zaidu Sanusi from the flank.
Super Eagles and Guinea-Bissau have qualified for the AFCON with one game to spare as it is mathematically impossible for The Leone Stars to catch up to either country with just one game left in the qualifiers.
Nigeria has 12 points, Guinea-Bissau has 10 points, Sierra Leone sits third on the log with five points from five games while Sao Tome and Principe are bottom of the log with just one point.
Osimhen brace sees him extend his lead on the qualifier’s top scorer chart. The 24-year-old currently has seven goals.