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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

2023 AFCON Qualifying: Simon’s penalty give Nigeria the edge in Bissau

Moses Simon’s first half penalty kick conversion was all the Super Eagles of Nigeria needed to avenge a shock defeat to Guinea-Bissau last week by defeating the Djurtus 1-0 in Bissau. The struggles with finishing continued for Nigeria and star forward Victor Osimhen but the visitors showed their ability to navigate a difficult test away from home. Nigeria move back to the top of Group A with nine points from four matches, two ahead of Guinea-Bissau and four points ahead of third placed Sierra Leone.

Nigeria head coach José Peseiro made several changes to his starting eleven with a more attacking formation, a decision that paid dividends for the visiting Super Eagles. Nigeria looked more dangerous despite a Bissau-Guinean home crowd who were eager to cheer on their Djurtus after the team were forced to play their home fixtures outside the country for an extended period.

The supporters went quiet close to the half hour mark when Nigeria right back Bright Osayi-Samuel was tripped up in the penalty area for a penalty kick, which Simon calmly put away by sending Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes the wrong way. Nigeria could have doubled their advantage on a few occasions but strikers Osimhen and Terem Moffi failed to deliver when opportunities presented themselves.

The hosts pushed forward more in the second half and created a decent look soon after the hour mark, but Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho got enough of a touch on a Mama Baldé shot after the Troyes striker was brilliantly played in by a Moreto Cassamá pass. The Super Eagles held on for a momentum boosting victory that puts them back in the driver’s seat for qualification to the finals in Ivory Coast.

Highlights from the match are below.