AFCONQ: Osimhen’s Hat-Trick Secure Super Eagles’ Top Spot in Group A
Victor Osimhen’s Hat-Trick and Dominant Display Secure Super Eagles’ Top Spot in Group A of the 2023 AFCON Qualifiers
●10th September 2023
The Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo witnessed an electrifying performance by the Super Eagles of Nigeria as they dominated Sao Tome and Principe in their final Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification match. Under the astute guidance of coach Jose Peseiro, Nigeria left no room for complacency, securing a resounding 6-0 victory.
The encounter got off to a thrilling start as Nottingham Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi fired an early shot at the Sao Tome goal in the 7th minute, only to be thwarted by a determined defender, resulting in a corner kick. However, it was the 2023 Ballon d’Or nominee, Victor Osimhen, who turned the tide in Nigeria’s favor in the 12th minute with a brilliant header, capitalizing on a precise delivery from Atalanta forward Ademola Lookman. Osimhen’s remarkable goal also marked his 18th strike for the Super Eagles, matching the legendary Obafemi Martins’ record.
As the first half progressed, Nigeria continued to apply pressure. Frank Onyeka orchestrated a through pass to find Awoniyi, who was met with stern opposition from a Sao Tome player, leading to a controversial penalty appeal that was eventually disallowed. In the 28th minute, Ademola Lookman displayed his prowess, doubling Nigeria’s lead with a spectacular shot from outside the goal area, courtesy of a superb setup by Wilfred Ndidi.
Despite Kelechi Iheanacho’s effort to add a third goal, it was ruled out for offside, keeping the scoreline at 2-0.
In the second half, former Union Berlin forward Taiwo Awoniyi continued Nigeria’s goal-scoring spree with a fine finish in the 51st minute, further bolstering the team’s commanding lead. Shortly thereafter, Osimhen extended Nigeria’s advantage after being fouled by Silva in the box. Osimhen confidently stepped up to the penalty spot, completing his brace with a powerful strike that left the Sao Tome goalkeeper with no chance.
In the 80th minute, Osimhen sealed his hat-trick with a brilliant strike, thanks to a well-placed pass from Samuel Chukwueze. This remarkable goal brought his tally to an impressive ten goals in the qualification series, reaffirming his status as a pivotal figure for the Super Eagles. Not to be outdone, super-sub Samuel Chukwueze, on the pitch for just about ten minutes, found the back of the net, further extending Nigeria’s lead to a staggering 6-0.
This commanding performance secured Nigeria’s comfortable lead in Group A, accumulating 15 points in total and concluding their AFCON qualification campaign with a remarkable record of five victories from six games. The Super Eagles have undoubtedly sent a strong message to their rivals as they prepare to compete on the grand stage of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
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