Iheanacho's brace inspires Nigeria to Liberia win

Iheanacho's brace inspires Nigeria to Liberia win
Kelechi Iheanacho Okoye of Nigeria celebrates goal during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Liberia at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Nigeria on 03 September 2021 ©BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Friday Sep 03, 2021. 20:47

Nigeria defeated Liberia 2-0 in their opening 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – Group C – match at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Friday evening.

The Super Eagles have now turned their attention to their second Group C game against Cape Verde on Tuesday, while the Lone Star are scheduled to face the Central African Republic on Monday.

The hosts dominated the game from the start and Ola Aina fired the first warning in the 10th minute as the Torino FC full-back’s thunderous shot narrowly missed the target.

The deadlock was then broken seven minutes before the half-hour mark following a perfectly executed corner-kick routine between Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi.

Iwobi set-up Iheanacho, who then took one touch, before unleashing a powerful low shot that beat goalkeeper Ashley Williams at the near-post to hand Nigeria a 1-0 lead.

The hosts continued to surge forward after taking the lead and they managed to score their second goal of the match on the stroke of half-time with Iheanacho and Iwobi being involved once again.

Iwobi flicked the ball backward and Iheanacho pounced and fired past a hapless Williams from close range to hand Nigeria a 2-0 lead heading into the half-time break.

Iheanacho, who was chasing a hat-trick in the second-half, played an inch-perfect free-kick for Leon Balogun in the 49th minute, but the lanky defender placed his header narrowly wide of the target.

Nigeria’s highly-rated striker Victor Osimhen was determined to put his name on the scoresheet and his header hit the crossbar just after he had connected with Moses Simon’s cross just after the hour-mark.

With his side trailing 2-0, Liberia coach Peter Butler decided to introduce attacker Peter Wilson as the Lone Star looked to pull one back in the closing stages and make it a nervy finish for the Super Eagles.

However, the hosts defended very well in the closing proceedings and ultimately, the match ended in a 2-0 victory in favour of Nigeria.

Nigeria (2) 2 (Iheanacho 23′, 45′)

Liberia (0) 0

Nigeria: Okoye, Aina, Ekong, Balogun, Collins, Ndidi, Aribo (Etebo 90’+2), Iheanacho (Musa 85′), Iwobi (Shehu 85′), Osimhen (Onuachu 78′), Simon (Kalu 78′).

Liberia: Williams; Segbay, Dweh, Balde, Macauley (Tweh 82′), Njei, Doeley, Soumaoro, Tisdell, (Kamara 57′), Kosiah, Sherman (Wilson 77′).

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