Super Eagles beat Ivory Coast to give Peseiro respite

Super Eagles beat Ivory Coast to give Peseiro respite
Photo by Icon Sport

With Equatorial Guinea beating Guinea Bissau 4-2 earlier in the day, pressure was on the Super Eagles to secure victory against the hosts and remain in contention for a place in the knockout stage.

The result took the Nzalang Nacional top of the group. It meant that the Nigerian side could not afford to lose the game.

It was worth noting the Ivorians have never lost to Nigeria on home soil and wanted to maintain that record.

The Super Eagles remain in the contest after securing a vital 1-0 win over Ivory Coast.

Elephants clipped Super Eagles wings in barren first half

Super Eagles
Photo by Icon Sport

The Super Eagles vs Ivory Coast game started with both sides looking to calm their nerves, with the Ivorians enjoying vociferous home support.

As Jose Peseiro predicted, it would be a tough game and it lived up to the billing.

The early skirmishes saw the Ivorians taking the game to their Nigerian counterpart, with the Super Eagles looking to contain the early pressure.

The first chance of the game came to Nigeria in the eighth minute. A through pass cut the Ivorian defence open, but Victor Osimhen scuffed his shot over the bar.

Nigeria was playing on the break, and it caused problems for the Ivorians.

The Elephants had a solid opportunity to go into the lead after capitalizing on a poor back header by Bassey.

Christian Kouamé could not score the rebound as Nwabali blocked his shot.

The Ivorians had another chance in the 16th minute off a free kick, but Erick Ndiocka’s shot was straight at the goalkeeper.

The Super Eagles struggled to play from the back, as the Ivorians did a good job closing them down. They reduced Nigeria into playing balls forward to Victor Osimhen through.

The two defences were doing well to keep the attackers at bay.

Nigeria got a scare in the 30th minute when Troost Ekong went down after clearing an Ivorian attack.

A minute later, Kouamé saw his goal-bound shot parried by Nwabali and the rebound blocked for a corner kick.

The first half was not so enthralling, but both sides put their backs into it to get a goal, with nothing to show.

Troost Ekong gave the Super Eagles first win over Ivory Coast in their home

Super Eagles
Photo by Icon Sport

The Super Eagles started the second half with more spring in their steps and took the game to the Ivorians.

The Nigerian side continued to pile on the pressure, and in the 52nd minute, Ousmane Diomande upended Osimhen in the box.

The centre referee, Mustapha Ghorbal from Algeria, awarded a penalty after consulting VAR. Captain Troost Ekong blasted the penalty right through the middle to give the Super Eagles the lead.

In the 61st minute, Osimhen could have doubled Nigeria’s lead. He was first to an Ola Aina long throw-in, but his header was over the bar.

The Super Eagles goal ensured the Ivorians would come out of their shell, but the Nigerian side was still getting the better chances.

The Ivorians started to pile on the pressure with more ball possession as the Super Eagles looked to maintain a clean sheet.

As the game wore on, the frustration in the Ivorians became visible as they started getting physical and taking ‘Hail Mary’ shots.

Nigeria:
Stanley Nwabali, Ola Aina, Semi Ajayi, William Troost-Ekong, Zaidu Sanusi (Kenneth Omeruo 80), Frank Onyeka, Calvin Bassey, Ademola Lookman (Bright Osayi-Samuel 79), Alex Iwobi, Samuel Chukwueze (Moses Simon 72), Victor Osimhen (Paul Onuachu 88)

Subs: Francis Uzoho, Raphael Onyedika, Kenneth Omeruo, Chidozie Awaziem, Paul Onuachu, Moses Simon, Kelechi Iheanacho, S. Onyemaechi, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Joe Aribo, Ahmed Musa, Terem Moffi

Ivory Coast:
Yahia Fofana, Evan Ndicka, Ousmane Diomande, Ghislain Konan (Oumar Diakite 80), Seko Fofana, Serge Aurier (Wilfried Stephane Singo 67), Franck Kessie, Christian Kouamé (Jonathan Bamba 67), Ibrahim Sangaré, Jeremie Boga (Nicolas Pepe 67), Jean-Philippe Krasso

Subs: Badra Ali Sangare, Lazare Amani, W. Singo, Odilon Kossounou, Jonathan Bamba, Karim Konate, Willy Boly, Jean Michaël Seri, Max Gradel, Nicolas Pepe, Ismael Diallo, Oumar Diakite

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast match Stats

Ivory Coast Nigeria
Shots on target 3 1
Shots off target 7 6
Blocked Shots 1 3
Possession (%) 61 39
Corner Kicks 5 6
Offsides 2 1
Fouls 15 19
Throw ins 22 18
Yellow Cards 0 1
Saves 0 3
Goal kicks 9 10

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.