The Super Eagles fought hard for their win, but they will head into the knockout round as Group A runners-up
Nigeria have qualified for the Round of 16 of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after beating Guinea-Bissau 1-0 at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny on Monday, Soccernet.ng reports.
Opa Sangante’s first-half own-goal was all Nigeria needed to defeat the Djurtus and join the 16 best nations on the continent.
How it happened
With his squad hit with injuries, coach Jose Peseiro made four changes to the Nigerian team that started in the 1-0 win over Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday.
Kenneth Omeruo took over the captainship from the injured William Troost-Ekong, while Bright Osayi Samuel made his first AFCON start. At the same time, Moses Simon and Joe Aribo also got the nod ahead of Ademola Lookman and Alex Iwobi.
Despite Nigeria retaining the 3-4-3 formation that worked so well against the Ivorians, the Eagles failed to get a grip of the game, with Guinea-Bissau dominating the early stages.
However, despite edging the possession stats, Guinea-Bissau lacked the cutting edge in attack, and Nigeria made them pay with the opening goal just past the hour mark.
Omeruo sent a long ball to Aina on the flanks. The Nottingham Forest full-back nodded it into the pride of Simon, who took it in his stride and sent a low cross for Osimhen, but Opa Sangante intercepted the pass and diverted it into his own net.
Still, the Super Eagles failed to press home their advantage and increase their lead before the referee whistled for the end of the half.
Nigeria started the second half on the front foot and came close to scoring, but Simon chose to dribble the keeper when he could have slotted the ball home. The keeper eventually gathered the ball before the Nantes winger could turn it into the net.
Osimhen got the ball into the net shortly after from a fine Osayi-Samuel cross, but the goal was ruled off as the Napoli striker had handled the ball before pushing it into the net.
Nigeria were poor in attack, and Osimhen was a big culprit as he headed the ball wide from a great Aina cross.
With ten minutes left, Guinea-Bissau thought they had their equaliser, but it was correctly ruled out for offside.
It was the turn of Nigeria to have their celebration cut short as Zaidu Sanusi’s goal was also disallowed moments later.
Nigeria, with the win, have qualified for the knockout round of AFCON with seven points from three games.
Interestingly, the Super Eagles finished as Group A runners-up after Equatorial Guinea outclassed hosts Cote d’Ivoire 4-0 in the other group game.
Equatorial Guinea boast the same number of points as Nigeria but edge the Super Eagles on a better goal difference.
Cote d’Ivoire have three points, but with a -3 goal difference, the Ivorians may miss out on being one of the four third-best teams to advance to the next stage.