Super Eagles finish second despite 1-0 win

Super Eagles finish second despite 1-0 win
Photo by Icon Sport

The Super Eagles locked horns with the Djurtus in their third AFCON 2023 group game, with a win likely guaranteeing them to finish top of the table.

It was the Super Eagles 100th AFCON game, and they wanted to make it memorable.

Nigeria came into the game brimming with confidence following their 1-0 victory over the hosts Ivory Coast, while Guinea Bissau, already out of the tournament, sought their first win.

With Ivory Coast up against Equatorial Guinea, the Super Eagles knew they had to better the result of Equatorial Guinea to top the table.

Despite winning 1-0 against the Djurtus, the Super Eagles finished second in Group A following Equatorial Guinea's 4-0 demolition of the hosts.

Super Eagles took advantage courtesy of a Sangare own-goal

Super Eagles go into the lead against Guinea Bissau through an own-goal
Photo by Icon Sport

Jose Peseiro shuffled his side for this encounter, opting to rest William Troost-Ekong, Alex Iwobi and Zaidu Sanusi, with Yusuf Alhassan still out to injury.

From the blast of the referee's whistle, the Super Eagles were all over the Djurtus and piled on the early pressure, but solid defending denied them a goal.

After the initial pressure from Nigeria, the game settled into a pattern, with Guinea Bissau finding space to operate. However, they were wary of the danger the Super Eagles represented.

Nigeria dominated possession, but the Guineans were using the offside trap to make it difficult for the forward line of the three-time champions to get clear-cut chances.

In the 20th minute, the Super Eagles had a solid chance to take the lead. Samuel Chukwueze cut in from the right and laid the ball for Osimhen, who teed it up for Frank Onyeka, who saw his deflected into the hands of Jonas Asvedo Mendes.

The Djurtus did well to cut off supply to Osimhen as Nigeria sought the goal to calm fraying nerves.

The Super Eagles continued to lay siege on the Djurtus, who were looking for opportunities on the counter but found their stubborn resilience a hard nut to crack.

Chukwueze had a good call for a penalty in the 28th minute as his shot struck the outstretched hand of a Guinean defender, but the referee waved it off.

Nigeria attacked more, while Guinea Bissau were more concerned about their defence.

The Super Eagles finally broke the backs of the Djurtus in the 37th minute when Opa Sangante tried to intercept a Moses Simon cross for Victor Osimhen but ended up slamming it into his net.

Nigeria finished the first half with a 1-0 lead, putting them second in Group A as the hosts Ivory Coast were losing 0-1 to Equatorial Guinea.

Super Eagles miss chances as goal-scoring struggles continue

Super Eagles 1-0 Guinea Bissau
Photo by Icon Sport

The Super Eagles started the second half with the same intensity as the first as they sought another goal.

Within the first three minutes of the second half, three chances had come the way of Nigeria, but were denied by either a poor touch or the goalkeeper alert to his duties.

Nigeria continued to dominate possession, but the Guinean defence was policing Osimhen well. He got a chance in the 56th minute, but his header went wide.

On the break, the Djurtus almost got an equalizer, but Nwabali saved the shot by Dalcio Gomes.

There was a moment of controversy when Simon was upended in the box, but the ref saw nothing in it to warrant a penalty. Osimhen had the ball in the net a few seconds later but was ruled offside.

The Super Eagles continued to press, and in the 70th minute, Ola Aina almost made it two, but he blazed his shot from inside the box over the bar.

Osimhen had another chance to get on the scoresheet in the 78th minute, but his header off Aina's cross was wide.

In the 84th minute, Zaidu Sanusi had the ball in the net, but another infringement was called on the defender.

Nigeria saw out the game amid several missed chances and finished second on the table despite a 1-0 win in their 100th AFCON game.

Nigeria vs Guinea Bissau Lineups

Nigeria:
Stanley Nwabali, Ola Aina, Kenneth Omeruo, Semi Ajayi, Calvin Bassey, Bright Osayi-Samuel (Zaidu Sanusi 80), Frank Onyeka (Raphael Onyedika 63), Samuel Chukwueze (Ademola Lookman 80), Joe Aribo (Alex Iwobi 63), Moses Simon, Victor Osimhen

Subs: Zaidu Sanusi, Francis Uzoho, W. Troost-Ekong, Ahmed Musa, S. Onyemaechi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Ademola Lookman, Paul Onuachu, Chidozie Awaziem, Terem Moffi, Raphael Onyedika

Guinea Bissau:
Jonas Asvedo Mendes, Houboulang Mendes, Edgar Ie, Opa Sangante, Nanu (Fali Cande 80), Janio Bikel, Nito Gomes, Famana Quizera (Ze Turbo 68), Dalcio Gomes (Alfa Semedo 89), Carlos Mendes Gomes (M. Sanca Tchami 46), Zinho Gano (Franculino 46)

Subs: Fernando Embadje, Ouparine Djoco, Sori Mane, Moreto Cassama, Jefferson Encada, Fali Cande, Mauro Rodrigues, M. Sanca Tchami, Alfa Semedo, Marcelo Djalo, Franculino, Ze Turbo, Alfa Semedo

Guinea Bissau v Nigeria Stats
  Guinea Bissau Nigeria
Shots on target 5 0
Shots off target 4 5
Blocked Shots 1 3
Possession (%) 51 49
Corner Kicks 3 2
Offsides 1 7
Fouls 11 19
Throw ins 17 21
Yellow cards 0 3
GK Saves 0 5
Goal kicks 9 11

This article was most recently revised and updated 4 weeks 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.