AFCON: Eagles Beat Stubborn Swallows of Burundi

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During the 90 minutes match, a 77th-minute goal from substitute Odion Ighalo ensured the Super Eagles opened their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign with maximum three points against the Swallows of Burundi in Alexandria, Egypt.
Gernot Rohr, the Nigerian coach started the game with Daniel Akpeyi in goal ahead of the first choice Francis Uzoho and Ikechuckwu Ezenwa. Akpeyi repaid the coach’s faith in him as he pulled off a stunning save to deny Burundi what would have been the opening goal after Cedric Amissi forced his way past the Nigeria defence before unleashing a stunning shot.

 

Also, there was another scare for the Eagles in the 38th minute when Burundi almost got the opening goal.

Frederic Nsabiyumva out-jumped Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong with a tricky header that hit the top end of the upright.

In what appears to be saving best players for future match strategy, Shehu Abdullahi was replaced by Chidozie Awaziem in the 43rd minute after what looked like a hamstring injury.

the Team captain, Mikel Obi, was also substituted with Ahmed Musa taking his place in the 58th minute from the commencement of the game.

Substitution continuous with Odion Ighalo who came in for Paul Onuachu, got the lone goal for the Eagles in the 77th minute, after just four minutes on the field, with a beautiful back-heel assist from Arsenal forward, Alex Iwobi.

The Eagles couldn’t find the second goal but held on to claim the maximum three points.

While speaking after the game, Mikel informed that it was a difficult game, "we knew they are a tough side.

They never get tired of running but it was good to win the first game" according to Mikel.

Mikel further added that “we need to try to win the next game.

It’s also going to be difficult but we will try to win and hopefully qualify from the group as soon as possible and then look forward to the next stage.

It’s not an easy group as you can see from today (Saturday).

They (Burundi) are a very organized team, tough to break down.

We were lucky to get the goal, we had most of the balls but we couldn’t break them down to get the goal. It’s very crucial for us to get these three points today".

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