The Super Eagles of Nigeria defeated Benin Republic 1-0 at Charles de Gaulle stadium in Porto Novo on Saturday evening courtesy of a last-minute goal from substitute Paul Onuachu.
The victory means Super Eagles have now gone to 10 AFCON qualifying matches without defeat, also halting a four-match winless run in competitive matches.
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The AFCON 2021 Group L encounter was a game of two halves- a dull first period improved upon in the second half, with the Super Eagles the more attacking side.
Joe Aribo was presented with the first opportunity less than five minutes in but headed wide while Kelechi Iheanacho drew a save from Benin goalkeeper.
The Eagles relied on ineffective long balls for much of the half but the shining light of the half was the duo of Henry Onyekuru and Zaidu Sanusi, the duo patrolled their right wing, creating the best opening for Iheanacho who saw his shot blocked.
Gernot Rohr’s side improved in the second period and had more joy down the left hand side but the hitherto silent
Chkwueze took the ball of Victor Osimhen and blazed wide from a move he started.
The hitherto untroubled defence nearly imploded when miscommunication between captain Troost-Ekong and goalkeeper Maduka Okoye led to Benin striker shooting high and wide, and the Maduka would have his only save on 61 minutes when he dived low to claw a header wide.
Osimhen responded for the Eagles with two chances in succession, holding off defenders before shooting over the bar then hitting the base of the post with an angled shot.
With 20 minutes to the end, Gernot Rohr brought on Paul Onuachu, changing to a traditional 4-4-2 system with Osimhen and Onuachu upfront and both were involved in the winner.
Wilfred Ndidi nodded a corner kick back into the danger zone and Osimhen flicked it on for Onuachu to nod home the winner in the 92nd minute, his second goa for Nigeria on his 10th appearance.
Nigeria tops Group L with 11 points from five matches, four more than Benin and qualifies for AFCON 2021 as group winners.
Despite the loss, Benin Republic also secured qualification for the competition set to hold in Cameroon in January as runners up.