Osimhen Hat-trick Puts Nigeria on Brink of Olympic Qualification

Victor Osimhen netted a sensational hat-trick as Nigeria beat Libya 4-0 to book a slot at the U23 Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.

Chidozie Okereke also found the net as Imama Amakpakabo’s men rallied past the Libyans on a 4-2 aggregate victory after losing the first leg 2-0 at the Ben Guerdane Stadium in Tunisia.

After losing the first leg last week, Osimhen, Valentine Ozornwafor, Chidozie Awaziem and Francis Uzoho were drafted into the team at Asaba.

The on-loan Charleroi forward opened the scoring in the 33rd minute reacting quickest to stab home a loose ball.

Minutes later, with Nigeria increasing the pressure and limiting the Libyans to the edge of their box, Chukwueze hit the top of the crossbar with a dipping freekick from the left.

Nigeria headed into the break in the ascendancy but still needing two more goals to seal qualification.

Osimhen’s second goal came in the 68th minute, where he showed quick reaction to stab home from close range after the Libyan goalkeeper spilled Ebube Duru’s cross.

Liverpool forward, Taiwo Awoniyi, was substituted in the 78th minute and replaced by Okereke.

After winning the ball in the midfield third, Kelechi Nwakali spotting Osimhen’s run lofted an inch-perfect pass for the forward to finish past the goalkeeper for his hat-trick.

The Dream Team had overturned the deficit and the charged atmosphere in the stadium got its extra jolt as the fans celebrated wildly.

Okereke got the icing on the cake in the stoppage time after solid work on the right by substitute Dennis Bonaventure.

The winger beat two defenders on his path and angled a shot that the goalkeeper kept out, Osimhen backheeled the loose ball into the path of Okereke who applied the finish for Nigeria’s fourth goal.

The 2019 Africa U23 Cup of Nations to determine the country’s three representatives at the Tokyo 2020 Games will be held in Egypt.


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