Nigeria’s Super Eagles grabbed a crucial away win in Mindelo on Tuesday as they stretched their lead in Group C to six points.
Victor Osimhen’s strike and Kenny Rocha Santos’s second half own goal helped three time African champions come from behind to beat Cape Verde 2-1 in their race to Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
It was a memorable outing for Ahmed Musa as Eagles Captain celebrated his 100th cap for Nigeria with a precious win that took the Super Eagles to a firm position at the top of Group C of the African race of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The duo of Malmo’s Innocent Bonke and Bolgona’s Kingsley Michael were handed starting debuts, in the absence of Wilfred Ndidi and Joe Aribo.
The Blue Sharks drew the first blood in the 19th minute after Dylan Dos Santos beat an offside trap to fire his left-footed shot past goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.
The Eagles who were without their key UK-based stars refused to be brow-beat, and launched a series of attacks, with Chidera Ejuke forcing the opposing goalkeeper to an acrobatic save in the 27th minute. Two minutes later, an alert Victor Osimhen would pull Nigeria level, stabbing home from close range after the goalkeeper punched following a defensive blunder.
In the 41st minute, the lively Ejuke again rattled the Cape Verde number one, before Osimhen came close to adding another one from a corner with a minute to recess.
In the second half, Ahmed Musa latched onto a centre by Osimhen as the Eagles pushed forward, but his tame shot was easily collected. Substitute Onyekuru was also guilty of putting too low a purchase on his shot in the 73rd minute as Nigeria streamed to the opposition area.
Two minutes later, in a spectacular backpass to his goalkeeper, Kenny Santos scored an own goal as the ball floated above the goaltender and landed in the net. The goal put Nigeria in front and eventually gave the Super Eagles the three points on the night.
Victory took the Eagles to maximum six points from two matches, three points ahead of second –placed Liberia, ahead of the Day 3 and 4 games scheduled for October.