Sport

AFCON qualifier: Eagles surrender four-goal lead to draw with Sierra Leone

Author:
Remi Sulola

The Super Eagles of Nigeria were forced to a 4-4 draw by Sierra Leone during match 3 of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.

The Gernot Rohr inspired side, who were beating the Leone Stars 4-0 — 30 minutes into the first half — threw away the four-goal lead to draw in Benin City.

The Super Eagles, who started the encounter as Group L leaders, showed their opponents that they meant real business with the curtain-raiser through Alex Iwobi on the fourth minute.

Victor Osimhen then went on a brilliant solo run spanning about 40 metres but his square pass inside the box eluded Ahmed Musa and fell to Samuel Chukwueze whose curling effort was blocked.

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In the 20th minute, there was a big chance for Sierra Leone to draw level. Buya Turay crossed for Kei Kamara who had all the time in the world but volleyed over from inside the box.

Nigeria doubled their advantage after the big miss when Osimhen finished off Zaidu Sanusi’s low cross into the box at the far post.

The impressive Iwobi then exchanged passes and curled in brilliantly from 30 yards out to complete his brace and a 3-0 lead for the Eagles.

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Chukwueze made it 4-0 in the 29th minute before the visitors reduced the deficit in the 41st minute.

Kwame Quee pounced and converted for 4-1 after Chukwueze, the Villarreal winger, was dispossessed close to the Super Eagles penalty area.

The second half began at an electrifying pace similar to the first half, with Chukwueze hitting the bar from Ahmed Musa’s cross.

The Eagles coach then made two changes some minutes after the hour mark, with Musa removed for Kelechi Iheanacho, while Semi Ajayi was introduced for the injured Leon Balogun.

Sierra Leone halved the deficit on 72 minutes when Al-Hadji Kamara met Kevin Wright’s cross with an excellent header that sailed beyond the goalkeeper for 4-2.

The stage was set for a dramatic home stretch when Sierra Leone got another goal through Mustapha Bundu in the 80th minute.

With four minutes left, the visitors completed the comeback when Al-Hadji Kamara scored his second goal for a 4-4 final score that ended the Super Eagles’ 100% record in the AFCON qualifiers.

The return leg is scheduled to take place in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, on November 17.

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