Monday Jun 19, 2023. 14:02
Nigeria head coach Jose Peseiro lauded his team’s never-say-die attitude after they beat Sierra Leone 3-2 on Sunday to qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles led Group A ahead of the trip to Monrovia, but needed a result to ensure their passage to the continental showpiece in Ivory Coast next year.
A first-half brace from Victor Osimhen (19′, 32′) gave them a 2-1 lead at the break, with Mustapha Bundu having halved the deficit for the Leone Stars on 41 minutes.
Peseiro’s side appeared to be heading for a share of the spoils after Augustus Kargbo restored parity in the 84th minute, however, Kelechi Iheanacho popped up deep into stoppage time to clinch a dramatic win.
The Portuguese tactician praised his players for a hard-fought display as they maintained the two-point gap to Guinea-Bissau at the top of the group.
“Our team qualified. It was a hard match. Our team never gave up. We fought till the end,” Peseiro said in the post-match press conference.
“Sierra Leone did a fantastic job. In the first half, we created seven to eight clear opportunities and only scored twice in the second half. But, you have to win. It was a very good match.
“Our team is the best in this group. I think we did a good job today against a good team. It was a very hard match. I am very happy with my players. Congratulations to my players because it is not easy.
“After 2-2, it was not easy here with the atmosphere, but they kept fighting. I think it was 4-4 three years ago in Abuja, but the players scored after 2-2 down to put us in the first position, our real position.”