Afcon 2019: Nigeria Overcome Libya Fightback to Top Group

Jude Odion Ighalo scored a brace, including a late winner as Nigeria overcame a Libya fightback to win 3-2 in Sfax and go top of Group E in the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The victory – off the back of a 4-0 trouncing of the Mediterranean Knights three days ago in Uyo – took the Super Eagles on the cusp if a first Afcon ticket in three editions after South Africa were held to a scoreless draw against minnows Seychelles earlier in the day.

The Eagles got off to a brilliant start as they took an early lead through in-form marksman Ighalo.

The Changchun Yatai attacker, who netted a hat-trick against Libya at the weekend, scored with a tap-in after unselfish play from stand-in skipper Ahmed Musa.

It was 2-0 four minutes later, as Musa left the hosts’ backline for dead before slotting in at the bottom right corner.

The hosts managed to pull one back through Mohamed Zubya, his close-range header beating Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho to make it 2-1 after 35 minutes.

Omar Al Maryami’s men came back buzzing after the restart, and Mohammed Abdussalam forced Uzoho into a great save – pushing the ball away on 54 minutes.

With the Eagles surrendering the initiative, Libya pressed on and got the leveller against the odds in the 74th minute, Ahmad Benali firing in from inside the area after Nigeria failed to clear their lines.

The rip-roaring game however had one more twist with nine minutes left on the clock when Ighalo controlled the ball brilliantly on the edge of the area, sold a dummy to the Libyan defence after shaping to shoot before firing a low shot past Libya goalkeeper Ahmed Azzaga to give Nigeria a thrilling 3-2 win.

Gernot Rohr’s men next face a top of the table clash against South Africa – 2-0 winners over the Eagles in Uyo, before they host Seychelles on the last matchday.

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