Nigeria have eased to a 3-0 win over Lesotho in their final Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on Tuesday evening.
The Super Eagles were already guaranteed to finish top of Group L before the match, but the result adds to their dominance and underlines their status as one of the teams to watch heading into Cameroon 2022.
The identity of the group’s other qualifier remains unknown for now, with the crunch match between Sierra Leone and Benin – which should have kicked off simultaneously in Freetown – delayed due to a Covid-19 wrangle.
Nigeria bossed the game from early on, but had to wait until the 23rd minute to claim the lead. Striker Victor Osimhen ran onto a ball over the top of the defence from Kelechi Iheanacho and lobbed it past goalkeeper Sekhoane Moerane from a tight angle.
If the Super Eagles thought that strike would open the floodgates, they were mistaken, with Likuena able to close up shop in defence and ensure that they kept the deficit to just one goal up to the half-time interval.
The second half saw Nigeria once again start strongly, and five minutes after the restart they added a second goal, with Oghenekaro Etebo finishing off an assist from Osimhen.
Lesotho soon responded by introducing Sera Motebang and Lehlohonolo Fothoane, while the Super Eagles were able to bring Paul Onuachu and Henry Onyekuru off their bench in an effort to add to their advantage.
And Onuachu – who scored the late winner away to Benin this past weekend – netted a second in as many matches when he turned home an assist from Onyekuru in the 83rd minute, wrapping up an emphatic victory for the West African heavyweights.
Nigeria (1) 3 (Osimhen 23’, Etebo 50’, Onuachu 83’)
Nigeria: Uzoho, Ebuehi, Balogun, Troost-Ekong, Sanusi (Collins 54’), Ndidi, Etebo, Chukwueze (Anayo 86’), Iwobi (Onyekuru 76’), Iheanacho (Musa 86’), Osimhen (Onuachu 76’)
Lesotho: Moerane (Ramalefane 90+1’), Khutlang (Kalake 84’), Lerotholi, Lesoaoana (Fothoane 61’), Makepe, Malane, Marabe (Motebang 60’), Mkwanazi, Nkoto, Sello (Mohapi 84’), Toloane