Osimhen & Musa’s penalty goals earn Nigeria win over Liberia

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Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles got the job done against Liberia on Saturday to come within touching distance of making it out of Group C of the Africa’s World Cup qualifying series.

Striker Victor Osimhen opened the scoring for the Eagles with a well-executed spot kick early in the first period before team’s captain Ahmed Musa doubled the visitors’ lead late in the second half.

Playing on a neutral ground in Tangier, Morocco, the Super Eagles were certain favourites ahead the duel with the Lone Stars of Liberia. To add even to that, Liberia had no hope of qualifying from the group as they are bottom of the standings, making the game somewhat inconsequential for them.

Unsurprisingly, things started to look in Nigeria’s favour early in the first half. Kelechi Iheanacho found himself one-on-one with the Liberia goalkeeper Boison Wynney, but was hacked down before he could go round the shot stopper. Osimhen stepped up for the resulting penalty, and the Napoli marksman made no mistake from the spot as he sent the goalie the wrong way for Nigeria’s first of the evening.

Then it went rather cold for the Eagles from whom much was expected.
On the half-hour mark, wing-back Jamilu Collins got the ball in the back of the net after some good work from Iheanacho sent him through on goal. The defender’s strike was however controversially ruled out for offside.

Just two minutes later, Osimhen had the chance to score his second after Iheanacho played a good ball over the top for him. The Eagles’ no. 9 however skied his effort with only the goalkeeper to beat.

In the 74th minute of the game, center-back Awaziem let one fly from range but it went narrowly over the cross bar.

The Lone Stars then made concerted efforts to get an equalizer but the light got deemed in the second minute of stoppage time after goalkeeper Wynney conceded yet another penalty. It was Osimhen he brought down this time, but the striker surprisingly deferred his responsibility to his captain Musa who had come on just moments ago.

With what was the last kick of the encounter, Musa fired into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.

The win over Liberia keeps the Eagles atop Group C with 12 points, two better than their closest rivals Cape Verde (10).

The qualification ticket to the final round will be on the line next Tuesday when Nigeria hosts the Blue Sharks at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos. A draw will be enough for the three-time African champions to progress.

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