Iheanacho’s strike gives Super Eagles ‘face-saving’ win over Tanzania
Super Eagles at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium, yesterday, defeated Tanzania 1-0 in the last Group B match of the African Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifier scheduled for next year in Gabon.
A lone goal by Kelechi Iheanacho through a volley in the 79th minute gave Nigeria the face-saving victory against their opponent.
Nigeria’s newly acquired coach, German Gernot Rohr, selected an attacking team with England-based quartet of Iheanacho, Odion Ighalo, Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses named in the starting list.
As expected Tanzania head coach, Boniface Mkwasa, listed KRC Genk forward, Mbwana Samatta, as captain of the team.
Two minutes after kickoff, Ighalo smashed Iheanacho’s pass over the top under a close challenge in the box.
Eagles continued to show that this was not going to be a dead rubber game as it was Moses’ turn to take a pop at goal. The Chelsea man’s free kick from 22 yards whizzed past the top right hand corner of Aishi Manula in goal for Tanzania.
Tanzania hardly had a sniff of the ball, talkless of a chance at Nigeria’s goal. And 10 minutes into the game, Musa provided a layoff for Moses after skipping past two markers but the Chelsea man could not apply the finish.
A cutback, two minutes later, from Nigeria captain, Mikel John Obi, picked out Musa in Tanzania’s penalty area but the Leicester winger kicked the air and had a second attempt at goal when he toe-poked straight at Manula to hold.
Midway into the first half, Manchester City youngster, Iheanacho, set up himself and struck with precision rather than power with his left foot but Manula produced a good save to keep his team in the game. Moses then came close to scoring twice but fluffed the chances.
On the stroke of half time, Elderson Echiejile bombed forward and combined with Moses, the latter flashed his effort over the top.
The restart produced the same scenario as Nigeria continued to press with Tanzania waiting for counter-attacks that never came or were broken down by the Super Eagles defence of Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, Musa Mohammed and Echiejile.