Sierra Leone stunned the Nigerian Super Eagles with a remarkable comeback in the second half of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers in Benin on Friday night.
Genort Rohr’s men climbed to a 4-0 lead in 30 minutes and the Lone Stars scored one to end the first half 4-1.
The game fell on its head in the second half as the visitors scored three times to level the scores at 4-4. The Eagles’ woes were compounded when the Napoli striker was injured.
It was an unusual capitulation at home for the Super Eagles, who led 4-0 in the half hour and apparently thought the job was done. They took their foot off the pedal and, unhinged by a series of substitutions that destroyed rather than enliven the tempo of their game, they capitulated incredibly when the Leone Stars scored three unanswered goals in a 14-minute span in a nightmarish second half.
The Eagles, as expected, had dominated the first half hour to an almost embarrassing degree, with a double from Alex Iwobi and one from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze putting the light of day between the hosts and their visitors. But the gap was astonishingly blurred as, gradually, the Leone Stars began to slowly but surely show their brilliance, first capitalizing on a mistake by Samuel Chukwueze to split the Eagles’ defense and free Kwame Quee to shoot Maduka Okoye in 41.S tminute.
Chukwueze rocked the Leone Stars with a free kick from Ahmed Musa in 47th minute, but after that, it was visitors all the way. Coach John Keister brought in Rodney Strasser and Alhaji Kamara to take the places of Alie Sesay and John Kamara, and that move was magical.
Alhaji Kamara rose higher in the Eagles’ defense to powerfully nod past Okoye for the Leone Stars second in 72North Dakota minute. The emphatic manner of that goal and the bold statement of intent was lost on the Eagles, who continued to show lack of spirit and move the ball back rather than forward.
Seeing an opening to create sensation, Keister made more changes, incorporating Mustapha Bundu and Osman Kakay. These changes further revved the engine of the Leone Stars. Eight minutes after scoring the second, Alhaji Kamara, after receiving the ball from the speedy Bundu that raced down the Nigerian right flank, landed a fierce ground ball over Okoye for Sierra Leone’s third.
Now, the Leone Stars couldn’t be stopped. While the Eagles failed to create starts, the Leone Stars were upbeat and threatened to score with every move, and it came as no surprise when, after defensive confusion, backup Bundu struggled in Sierra Leone’s tie with four minutes to go. the end.
Two efforts by Kelechi Iheanacho from dead balls failed to produce the long-awaited winner, goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara lunged long to thwart the first and second flying over the posts.
The Eagles continue to lead Group L with seven points, and the Leone Stars remain third with two points, ahead of the other group clash between the Republic of Benin and Lesotho in Cotonou on Saturday. Whatever the outcome, the Eagles will retain their place at the top of the table, but Lesotho’s victory would push the Leone Stars to the bottom despite Friday’s feat in Benin City.
Nigeria and Sierra Leone will meet again at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown on Tuesday night.
source: – fcnaija