Was Nigeria’s Victory Over Sao Tome A Fluke?
The Super Eagles grabbed three points against the The Falcons and True Parrots of São Tomé and Príncipe at the Grand Stade Agadir, also known as Adrar Stadium, on Monday.
The Nigerian team had also bagged all three points in their 2-1 defeat of Sierra Leone at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja on Thursday.
On Monday, Victor Osimhen scored four times to give the Super Eagles a resounding victory in their Day 2 encounter of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification series in Morocco.
Having pocketed another three points, Super Eagles are top of Group A and recorded their biggest win ever in an AFCON qualifier.
Osimhen, who also scored the winner against Sierra Leone in Abuja on Thursday, scored four of the goals, starting his account with a powerful header that goalkeeper Anastacio Braganca could not just stop in the 9th minute. As early as the second minute, Osimhen, always fully charged, had flicked the ball with his head from a Zaidu Sanusi pull-out, but there was no Eagle to connect.
In the 19th minute, Terem Moffi’s shot was saved by Braganca as Nigeria dominated easily and with much efficiency, and four minutes later, a good Osimhen header from Ademola Lookman’s corner was again saved by Braganca.
In the 28th minute, defender Ola Aina’s pull-out found Osihmen, who laid for Moses Simon to tap beyond the flailing hands of Braganca for Nigeria’s second. Four minutes later, Sao Tome and Principe had their first shot at Francis Uzoho’s goal, but Luis Leal’s effort went off target.
Moffi wasted two excellent opportunities to take Nigeria higher on the scoreline, in the 36th amd 40th minute, but did just that in the 43rd minute when he beat two defenders to slam into the net from a great Osimhen pass. It was Moffi’s first goal for the Super Eagles.
In the secong half, it was all Nigeria. Osimhen’s firm header from pull-out by Lookman in the 48th minute went in for the fourth goal, and seven minutes later, Oghenekaro Etebo fired his 20 –yard free-kick into the underside of the bar and into the net for Nigeria’s fifth. Osimhen thought he had scored a sixth for Nigeria in the 57th minute, but it was ruled off-side.
On the hour mark, substitute Ahmed Musa, only two minutes on the pitch, found an onrushing Sanusi whose cross found Terem Moffi well-placed to slam the ball into the net for Nigeria’s sixth.
Three minutes later, there was another first goal for the Super Eagles. Ademola Lookman found the roof of the net after another Musa pass found Moffi and he chipped over onrushing goalie Braganca.
Osimhen got his hat-trick in the 65th minute when laid on by a sweet Ahmed Musa pass, and in the 84th minute, another brilliant Musa pass found Osimhen in the right place to score his fourth and Nigeria’s ninth.
Substitute Emmanuel Dennis won and converted a penalty kick on the dot of 90 minutes to round up a goal-spangled afternoon for Nigeria in Morocco’s southern coastal city.
In only his second competitive match in charge of Nigeria, 62 –year old Portuguese José Santos Peseiro led the Super Eagles to wallop the National Team of Sao Tome and Principe 10-0. In the process Super Eagles obliterated Nigeria’s 63–year-old international scoring record.
Nigeria National Team, then known as Red Devils, had defeated Dahomey (former name of Benin Republic) 10-1 in a Kwame Nkrumah Cup match in Lagos on 28th November 1959.
Peseiro had said at the Aeroport Agadir Almarissa that the encounter against ‘The Falcons and True Parrots’ would bring the best out of his team as they seek to go top of the Group A table.
“We want to be the team at the top of the table, so we must fight hard against the opponents. Every match, we must commit ourselves fully to winning it. As I said earlier in the week, Nigeria have huge pedigree and they also have both quality and quantity of players. It is important that we select the best all the time to win the big games,” he had said.
Defender and deputy skipper William Ekong and midfielder Innocent Bonke had returned to their respective bases in England and France to attend to injuries copped during the international break.
Bonke was injured in the friendly game against Mexico in Dallas on May 28, while Ekong suffered a groin strain in the 2-1 defeat of Sierra Leone in Abuja on Thursday.
The Super Eagles’ next games in the qualification are against Guinea-Bissau home and away in September. ..