AFCON 2019: Ighalo Goal Helps Nigeria Win Burundi

AFCON 2019: Ighalo Goal Helps Nigeria Win Burundi

Odion Ighalo was the only scorer as the Eagles beat Burundi 1-0 in the Group B opener at the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup Nations at Alexandria Stadium on Saturday night encounter.

Veteran striker, Odion Ighalo salvaged a goal for Nigeria as they kick start their AFCON campaign with a 1-0 win over Burundi.

The match saw a squad reshuffle as head coach Gernot Rohr dropped his usual number, one goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, Chineses Super League striker and Ahmed Musa from the starting eleven by bringing in Daniel Akpeyi and Paul Onuachu.

Jamiu Collins has taken ill, so Ola Aina will play at left-back but Villarreal winger, Samuel Chukwueze, who had an outstanding season in LaLiga, takes the place of Samuel Kalu, who collapsed in training on Friday.

Ighalo made a 73rd-minute second-half substitute appearance for Onuachu but the 30-year-old Shanghai Greenland Shenhua goal poacher break the deadlock four minutes later gives Super Eagles bright start in Alexandria.

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Nigeria were posing much of the threat in the first half of the game, but failing to convert. Samuel Chukwueze was the talisman for the Super Eagles but lack of finishing from Paul Onuachu and Alex Iwobi pegged Nigeria down.

Burundi did not express any respect as they called goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi to duty on more than one occasion. Nsabiyumva Frederic and Abdoul Fiston were the dangermen for the players in red.

Defender Shehu Abdullahi suffered a hamstring and was stretchered off, forcing coach Gernot Rohr to make an early change.

On resumption from the break, Rohr observed that captain John Obi Mikel was not at his best, and subsequently took him off for Musa, whose introduction brought more bytes to the frontline of the Super Eagles.

As the game entered it's final 20 minutes, Onuachu was taken off for Ighalo, who later opened scoring four minutes after coming in, thanks to former Chelsea defender Ola Aina assist.

The final 10 minutes was full of action, but the scoreline remained the same as Nigeria sealed a 1-0 victory over Burundi.

The victory means Nigeria will top the group temporary until the outcome of the other group match. It's also a boost for the Eagles as they hope to qualify for the knockout stages.

This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago

Oseg has been a writer since 2013. His passion for helping people in all aspects of sports flow through in the expert coverage he provides in writing for GoalBall.