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Nigeria defeat Liberia to maintain lead in WCQ Group C

A pair of penalty kick goals helped Nigeria clinch a 2-0 victory over Liberia in FIFA World Cup qualifying on Saturday. Victor Osimhen and Ahmed Musa made no mistake dispatching their spot kicks as the Super Eagles maintained a two-point lead at the top of Group C, setting up a high stakes final day home clash against second placed Cape Verde to determine who moves on to the final stage.

There were few opportunities throughout the match with both teams looking rather sluggish in attack, but the Nigerian side had their superior individual talent to lean on in pushing through for the three points. By the time fifteen minutes had elapsed, it was the Super Eagles who were in the lead. An accurate long ball from Chidozie Awaziem found Kelechi Iheanacho behind the Liberian defense and as the Leicester City forward poked the ball around Liberian keeper Wynney de Souza, he was taken out for a foul and the awarding of a penalty kick. Osimhen had no problem finishing the penalty kick for the opening goal.

The Iheanacho-Osimhen combination up top continues to improve as Iheanacho has gradually embraced the role of acting as a playmaker. In the 33rd minute, Iheanacho provided an excellent aerial through ball to send Osimhen in behind the defense, but the Napoli forward could not get his finish under control as he smashed a shot high over the bar.

Liberia struggled to impact the game going forward and showed a lack of composure and quality on the few opportunities that fell their way. A 73rd minute opportunity summed it up well as a lofted ball toward the Nigerian penalty area was poorly dealt with by center back William Troost-Ekong, whose header back towards his goal fell for Moussa Sanoh but the forward’s terrible first touch fell harmlessly to keeper Maduka Okoye.

The Super Eagles wrapped up the match with one more goal in the last seconds of second half stoppage time when Osimhen got behind the defense once more. As he prepared to shoot, a last ditch tackle from a Liberian defender went off de Souza and as Osimhen followed up, he was fouled by the keeper for another awarding of a penalty kick. Substitute Ahmed Musa converted the spot kick for 2-0 and the referee blew for full time immediately after.

Highlights of the match are in the link below. A draw or victory at home against Cape Verde on Tuesday will see Nigeria through as Group C winners.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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