Super Eagles knocked off the top of the qualification table by Wild Dogs
Mama Samba Balde’s 29th minute goal, a brilliant strike straight from the training ground, condemned the Super Eagles to a 0-1 defeat at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday as Guinea Bissau’s Wild Dogs howled to top of their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification table.
Nigeria’s early sporadic raids ended in futility. Defender Bright Osayi-Samuel’s second minute grasscutter was easily averted from goal, Samuel Chukwueze’s shot with 7 munites into play was leisurely defused by a circumspect defender and Victor Osimhen crashed his shot into the body of goalkeeper Jonas Mendes at the 16th minutes mark of the encounter.
The Wild Dogs had barred their teeth at the quarter-hour but it needed the quick effort of Wilfred Ndidi to head off Alfa Semedo Esteves in the box. The Super Eagles’ defense failed to heed that warning, and 14 minutes on, Fali Cande heaved a long push forward that evaded Calvin Bassey’s and Kevin Akpoguma concentration, Balde swiftly caught on, controlled the ball expertly and flicked it past onrushing Francis Uzoho for the only goal of the match.
Coach José Peseiro threw on Paul Onuachu and Moses Simon for Kelechi Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman at the beginning of the second half, but even as Nigeria created more chances, finishing was a concern.
In the 56th minute, Simon drew gasps from the crowd as he missed from six yards, and Mendes saved brilliantly from Osimhen when the marksman was through on goal. Chukwueze blasted a couple of opportunities over the sticks and Paul Onuachu’s header flew away from goal with 12 minutes remaining.
Defeat meant the Eagles slipped to second place while the Djurtus climbed to top with seven points to the Eagles’ six, ahead of the two teams’ confrontation in Bissau on Monday evening.