Nigeria reclaimed first place in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group when hosts Guinea Bissau were defeated by a penalty in the 30th minute on Monday.
The Eagles created opportunity after excellent opportunity but were unable to get past goalkeeper Jonas Mendes, exactly like it happened in the first leg in Abuja.
Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze both missed chances in the first half before Moses Simon scored from six yards out to put Nigeria ahead for the first time in the game.
The Djurtus looked dangerous as they did in the first leg in Abuja but failed to unscramble the new Kenneth Omeruo/Semi Ajayi equation in the centre of Nigeria’s defence, even as Bright Osayi-Samuel again showed plenty of evidence that he has come to stay at the Super Eagles’ right back.
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Osimhen was denied by the upright in the 59th minute when he flashed a shot past Mendes, and four minutes later, the Napoli man simply blew it skywards after being put through by Samuel Chukwueze.
In the 69th minute, Osimhen was again foiled by the alertness and diligence of Mendes after Simon sliced one from the left flank.
Two minutes later, substitute Joe Aribo was also cracking his knuckles after Mendes got a strong hand to push over his fierce shot from just outside the box.
Victory meant the Eagles returned to the top with nine points, with Guinea Bissau second on seven and Sierra Leone, who spanked Sao Tome and Principe on Wednesday, third on five points.
Regardless of this win, eyebrows will continue to be raised around Jose Paseiro’s ability to lead Nigeria to success as the former has struggled to make his mark since taking over the reins in May 2022.
The Portuguese manager was in fact a surprise appointment for the Super Eagles job after his underwhelming 18-month spell in charge of Venezuela, where he picked up just one win in 10 matches.
The next round of the qualifiers will be in June, when Nigeria travel away to Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau take on bottom-placed Sao Tome and Principe.
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