Nigeria Secures Last-16 Berth at Afcon with Victory Over Guinea-Bissau

Opa Sangante’s Own Goal Propels Nigeria to Second Place in Group A

In a crucial Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) clash, Nigeria secured their spot in the tournament’s last 16 with a 1-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau, courtesy of a first-half own goal by Opa Sangante. The win propelled Nigeria to second place in Group A, finishing with seven points from three games, narrowly behind surprise package Equatorial Guinea on goal difference.

The decisive moment came in the 36th minute when Moses Simon delivered a low cross from the left, targeting Victor Osimhen. In an attempt to clear the ball ahead of the striker, Sangante inadvertently steered it into his own net, handing Nigeria the lead.

Despite dominating the game, Nigeria struggled with poor finishing throughout, making the encounter tense until the final whistle. Osimhen missed several chances to secure the three points earlier in the contest, and both teams had late goals correctly ruled out for offside.

Nigeria’s back-to-back wins, following a sluggish start in their pool opener against Equatorial Guinea, reflect an improvement. However, coach Jose Peseiro faces the challenge of fine-tuning their attacking prowess. Despite boasting one of the best attacks on paper, Nigeria managed only three goals in as many games, highlighting their struggles in the final third.

The team displayed wastefulness in front of goal and occasional disjointedness, emphasizing the need for improved cohesion. Sangante’s own goal served as a gift for Nigeria, but their inefficiency in converting clear-cut chances remained evident.

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Victor Osimhen had a chance to extend the lead but steered his header wide of the post, and Simon missed an opportunity early in the second half. Osimhen’s subsequent goal was disallowed for a handball, contributing to an overall challenging night for the forward.

While Nigeria celebrates their progression to the knockout stage, there is acknowledgment that further refinement is required to unlock the team’s full potential in the remainder of the Afcon tournament.

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