Nigeria defeated Sierra Leone 2-1 to begin their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign on a winning note.
Goals from Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen helped the Super Eagles secure a comeback triumph over the Leone Stars inside the MKO Abiola Stadium.
Fueled by an impressive form which saw them win against Liberia and Congo in their last two matches in all competitions, John Keister’s men started the match on a lively note.
Regardless, they could have been punished in the second minute, nevertheless, referee Ibrahim Traore waved aside a penalty shout from Super Eagles after John Kamara appeared to have handled the ball in a dangerous area.
The Leone Stars could have taken the lead in the fourth minute, but Mohamed Buya Turay’s well-taken shot was punched over the crossbar by goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
Peseiro’s side had their first scoring opportunity in the sixth minute, albeit, Osimhen headed Calvin Bassey’s cross wide.
In the 11th minute, Sierra Leone capitalised on disjointed defending by the home team to take the unexpected lead with Jonathan Morsay beating Uzoho from close range after he was teed up by Musa Kamara.
That lead lasted for just five minutes as Iwobi restored parity for the three-time African champions. After being teed up by Moses Simon, the Everton man danced into the Leone Stars’ defence before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara.
Having spent much of the first half on the back foot, Nigeria looked reinvigorated towards the half-time break, and they got their reward as Osimhen found the net thanks to a second assist from Simon.
In the 51st minute, Villarreal winger missed a sitter with just the goalkeeper to beat after collecting a fine pass from Napoli goal machine Osimhen.
Even with the introduction of Amadou Bakayoko, Mustapha Bundu, and Augustus Kargbo, Sierra Leone could not find their way back and they returned home with heads bowed low.
Thanks to this result, the 2013 African kings occupy the summit of Group A with three points. They continue their bid towards qualifying for Cote d’Ivoire 2023 with an away fixture against Sao Tome and Principe on Monday at the Stade Adrar in Agadir.
For Keister’s men, they would be aiming to return to winning ways when they host Guinea-Bissau on June 13. The Djurtus demolished Sao Tome and Principe 5-1 in their first match.