Nigeria went into their final Group D match knowing their place in the Africa Cup of Nations last 16 is already secured. A 1-0 victory over Egypt in their opening game set the ball rolling. Their 3-1 win over Sudan sent the West African nation to the knockout stages of AFCON 2021 with a game to spare despite the absence of Odion Ighalo, Victor Osimhen, and Emmanuel Dennis. Nigeria have a perfect record under interim head coach Augustine Eguavoen, making the appointment of Jose Peseiro ponderous, but we digress.
Guinea-Bissau had managed only a point so far. Their draw against Sudan. Nothing other than maximum points would do. Having secured qualification, the Super Eagles had the luxury of resting players, and with so much resting on this game for Guinea-Bissau, it was set to be an enthralling contest.
Nigeria were relatively quiet in the first half. They were safe. 30 minutes into the match, and the only highlight is a bicycle kick from Kelechi Iheanacho that didn’t trouble Maurice Gomis. If Guinea-Bissau were to have any chance of progressing into the knockout rounds, they needed maximum points, but they did little to trouble Francis Uzoho who was deputizing for Maduka Okoye .
The Super Eagles, in contrast to the first half, were buzzing and brimming with confidence in the second half. Iheanacho put in an exquisite outside foot pass into the path of Umar Sadiq, who couldn’t miss from six yards out and registered his first-ever international goal. One which to his bemusement was his last contribution to the game.
The game was wrapped up ten minutes from time as Moses Simon wriggled his way into the 18-yard area and thrashed his shot off the upright. Watford defender William Troost Ekong was on hand to tap home the rebound to seal the game.
The result sees Guinea-Bissau gain an unwanted and disappointing record as they became the first team in history to go seven consecutive games in AFCON without scoring a goal.