Nigeria rally to beat Benin Republic in AFCON qualifiers

Nigeria came from behind to beat Benin 2-1 in their opening 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Wednesday evening.

The Squirrels raced into an early lead, but goals from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu secured all three points for the hosts. Victory moves the Super Eagles to the top of Group L, with Sierra Leone and Lesotho having played to a 1-1 draw at the same time in Freetown.

Nigeria got off to the worst possible start as Stephane Sessegnon fired the visitors in front after just five minutes. Sloppy defending gifted the Benin captain a clear sight of goal, and he made no mistake, slotting the ball past a helpless Daniel Akpeyi.

The Super Eagles ramped up the pressure in the closing stages of the first half and went close through Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze who rattled the woodwork with 40 minutes on the clock.

Nigeria duly levelled matters on the stroke of halftime as Osimhen struck home from the penalty spot after Ola Aina was upended in the box.

The hosts hit the front in the 63rd minute as Kalu weaved his way into the area before slotting home from close range to give the Super Eagles a deserved lead.

Nigeria navigated their way through a nervy final few minutes to secure all three points as they immediately turn their attention to Lesotho, who they will face in Maseru this weekend. – Super Sport.