Wednesday, June 26, 2019 10:06 pm
Three-times African champions Nigeria on Wednesday beat Guinea 1-0 in Alexandria to advance to the Round of 16 of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that central defender Kenneth Omeruo scored the lone goal with a header in the 73rd minute.
The Chelsea FC player, who is presently on loan at Spanish La Liga side Leganes, rose in the penalty area above Guinean defenders to head home a Simon Moses corner kick.
The win took the Super Eagles to six points from two games, for a comfortable lead in Group B ahead of their final group game against Madagascar on Sunday in Alexandria.
The result put Guinea in a difficult position, having drawn 2-2 with Madagascar in their first match, and now need to beat Burundi in their last group match on Sunday.
Basking in the euphoria of their opening game win, the Super Eagles were dominant in this second game, rising to the occasion by controlling the game.
Needing a draw to maintain group leadership, Nigeria played with confidence, even when threatened by their opponents’ robust play.
Having dropped team captain Mikel Obi, and with Leon Balogun returning, Nigeria looked more mobile but still failed to get the ball to Ahmed Musa and Odion Ighalo as required.
In spite of Etebo Oghenekaro, Wilfried Ndidi and Alex Iwobi always getting in the mix with the Guineans, the Syli Nationale were always winning the battle in the middle.
Iwobi had one of the best chances when it was goalless, with a curled effort from just outside the penalty area.
But Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone produced a spectacular one-handed save to push it over the bar.
Guinea’s Naby Keita, who was making his first start for club or country in about seven weeks, received some strong challenges in order to be kept quiet until he was substituted.
He was replaced just before a Nigeria corner kick and Guinea went behind instantly, through Omeruo’s header to Moses’ right flank corner kick.
NAN reports that Guinea are now with one point from two games.
The group’s next matches are on Sunday, with Nigeria needing only a draw against Madagascar to win the group.