Goals decide matches. That’s how the saying goes and the Super Eagles have been involved in a tonne of goals in the last ten years, from the simple tap ins to the spectacular long range strikes.
Soccernet Nigeria reviews the ten greatest goals scored by the Nigeria national football team over the last decade, based simply on the importance of the goal to team success or the sheer brilliance behind the execution of the strike or, in some cases, both.
10. Alex Iwobi vs Argentina (4-2, 4th goal)
The then Arsenal forward scored twice as Nigeria stunned two-time World Cup winners Argentina by recovering from two goals down to triumph 4-2 in Krasnodar but it was his second of the day that sent the social media space into a wild frenzy.
With the Super Eagles having turned around a 0-2 deficit into a 3-2 lead, Argentina were increasingly desperate to claw their way back into the match but their hopes were ended when Iwobi grabbed his second goal on 73 minutes.
Taking a pass from Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi sent Mascherano for a quick nap with a naughty nutmeg before hammering home a left footed shot to seal a fine win over the South Americans.
9. Ahmed Musa vs Iceland (2-0, 1st goal)
Having lost their World Cup opener to Croatia, Gernot Rohr’s men knew that another defeat would mean a premature exit from the tournament but the team delivered the win in convincing fashion, handing Iceland a 2-0 defeat courtesy of a brace from Musa.
The first – an early contender for goal of the tournament – arrived just after the interval.
Musa showed a superb technique to bring down a firm Victor Moses cross, and despite the attentions of two opposing defenders, he fired Nigeria ahead on the half-volley from 10 yards out. Hannes ThorHalldorsson stood no chance.
8. Victor Moses vs Cameroon (4-0, 3rd goal)
It is not every day that Nigeria get to humiliate the Indomitable Lions but when you’ve got Victor Moses, anything is possible.
The retired Nigerian midfielder was involved in every good move the Super Eagles made as a goal apiece from Odion Ighalo, the Chelsea FC winger himself, skipper Mikel Obi and substitute Kelechi Iheanacho ensured Nigeria grabbed the maximum three points at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
Moses’ strike, however, was the pick of the bunch. As Cameroon drove forward in search of a way back into the tie after the Super Eagles had stormed into a 2-0 lead, Moses robbed one of possession and, after exchanging passes with Mikel Obi, galloped forward with the ball glued to his feet.
Victor Moses released Moses Simon with a pass into the box before tucking the return pass beyond the reach of the opponent’s goalkeeper.
7. Joe Aribo vs Brazil (1-1)
Nigeria soaked the early pressure exerted by the five-time world champions and took the Selecao by surprise with the pace of Victor Osimhen and Moses Simon upfront.
Having stomached the best the South Americans could offer without any major casualty, the Super Eagles punched back in the 35th minute leaving Title’s men reeling.
Osimhen switched play from the right flank to the left where Moses danced with the ball into the Brazilian box before laying a simple pass to Joe Aribo.
The Ranger’s midfielder, just playing his second ever game for Nigeria, waltzed through a couple of challenges before stroking the ball past Manchester City’s Elderson to hand Nigeria an unlikely lead.
Brazil would later equalise three minutes into the second half but Nigeria held on for a creditable draw.
6. Paul Onuachu vs Egypt (1-0)
Paul Onuachu scored a spectacular winner as Nigeria defeated Egypt 1-0 to start their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Cup on a positive note at the Stephen Keshi Stadium.
The Super Eagles made a flying start right from kick-off, with Onuachu grabbing his first Nigeria goal in spectacular fashion after 10 seconds of play.
After the customary kick-off routine, the ball was shifted to John Ogu who made a searching pass to Onuachu. The lanky striker reacted quickly, leaving an Egypt defender chasing his shadow, before smashing a half-volley past Mahmoud Gennesh from the edge of the area.
5. Peter Osaze vs Bosnia (1-0)
Nigeria won just one match at the 2014 World Cup with that victory coming against European side, Bosnia-Herzegovina in a Group F encounter.
Peter Odemwingie scored the only goal to give Nigeria a victory that knocked out World Cup debutants Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Knowing they needed a win to stay in their first World Cup finals, Bosnia attacked from the start but were vulnerable in defence, with Odemwingie, John Mikel Obi and Michael Babatunde all squandering early chances for Nigeria.
The all-important goal came just seven minutes after Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside.
The Super Eagles made the most of the let-off as Emmanuel Emenike powered past Emir Spahic on the right before finding Odemwingie, who shot through the legs of his Stoke team-mate Asmir Begovic to score and earn Nigeria’s first win at a World Cup finals since 1998.
4. Odion Ighalo vs Cameroon (3-2, 2nd goal)
Ighalo makes a grand entry into this top list with his fine strike when Nigeria defeated defending champions Cameroon 3-2 in a thrilling Round of 16 fixture at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
It was no 50-yard strike to the top corner but a fine team move that the former Watford striker applied the finishing touch to.
Having already seen his opening goal cancelled by the Lions with Nigeria then trailing after conceding a second, Ighalo struck to level proceedings against a formidable foe.
A decent cross from the right-wing was cushioned by Ahmed Musa’s broad chest into the path of Ighalo who turned the ball home smartly with his first touch.
3. Sunday Mba vs Ivory Coast (2-1, 2nd goal)
The name of Sunday Mba is forever etched in the history of Nigeria football largely due to two crucial goals he got for the Super Eagles in the year 2013. The first was the winning goal against a Didier Drogba-inspired Ivory Coast.
Emmanuel Emenike had opened the scoring for Nigeria with a long-range shot – a strong contender to make this list – in the 43rd minute and Cheik Tioté had equalised in the 50th with a header from a Drogba’s free-kick.
Then Sunday Mba happened.
The home-based star went on a mazy run before smashing a fierce shot from outside the area into the top corner to help Nigeria beat the tournament favourites Ivory Coast 2-1 and reach the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.
2. Ahmed Musa vs Iceland (2-0, 2nd goal)
Having scored one of the goals of the tournament against the same opponent earlier, Ahmed Musa scored an even better goal to become his country’s all-time top scorer in World Cup games with four goals.
Musa’s first strike had hurt Iceland and pulled the Europeans out of their shell as they desperately sought for the equalizer.
But they were caught napping ten minutes to time when the man of the match, Musa, ran past an opposing defender into the box, rounded the keeper and waited for the perfect moment to strike into the back of the net.
1. Sunday Mba vs Burkina Faso (1-0)
This was the second of Sunday Mba’s landmark double of 2013.
Having scored a magnificent winner that knocked out Didier Drogba and co in the quarterfinals, the midfielder then popped up again with another winning strike in the final to help Nigeria claim her third African Cup of Nations title.
The Super Eagles were dominant against a Burkina Faso side playing in their first ever AFCON final match and Stephen Keshi’s men eventually made the breakthrough just before half-time when Mba sweetly clipped the ball over Mohamed Koffi with his right foot and then volleyed into the far corner with his left.
And the Super Eagles were African champions once again.