Faleye’s strike lifts Nigeria above Libya at CHAN

By George Akpayen

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Photo: CAF
Photo: CAF

Sunday Faleye’s goal proved sufficient for Nigeria’s Super Eagles as they edged past Libya 1-0 in their second group game in the ongoing African Nations Championship (CHAN) at the Ibn Batouta Stadium in Tangier on Friday.

Super Eagles head coach Salisu Yusuf named an unchanged line-up for the Libya game while Saleh Taher whose two goals helped the north African nation to a 3-0 win over Rwanda in their first game at CHAN.

Last season’s top scorer in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Anthony Okpotu had the first sight at goal after Stephen Eze flicked Daniel James Itodo’s long throw-in. The Lobi man’s outstretched leg could not connect the ball from close range.

Most of Nigeria’s attack came from the right channel where Rangers winger Osas Okoro playing as a wing back bombed forward but most of the time his crosses let him down in the final third.

After 25 minutes, Emeka Ogbugh’s cross flashed across the face of Libya’s goal after a nice counterattacking move. Libya goalkeeper Mohamed Nashnush though nearly got embarrassed by the cross.

Libya also had their opportunities through Mohamed Aleyat and Taher without success.

The Super Eagles then had one more opportunity at goal, but Faleye slipped at the most important moment in a counterattacking move. The 3SC man then passed the ball straight at the Libyan goalkeeper.

At the break, the Super Eagles managed just an attempt at goal which was not on target.

Whatever Salisu told the players in the locker room worked in the restart as Ogbugh and Faleye continued to swap positions as wide men.

The second 45 minutes became some sorts of individual battle between Faleye and Libya’s right-back Ahmed Al Maghassi. The 3SC man put out a message, skinning his Al Ittihad marker almost every time they came face to face. However Faleye’s delivery, at times, into the box lacked accuracy.

Libya had one moment that had Nigerian hearts in their mouths when Abdelsalam Alaqoub’s strike from outside of the box flew just past Ikechukwu Ezenwa’s goal by inches on 65 minutes.

Eleven to time, Faleye scored the winner. He got goal side of the Libyan defence after Emeka Atuloma flicked Okoro’s corner kick at the near post for the 19-year-old to smash home from close range.

On 82 minutes, Enyimba forward Mustapha Ibrahim was put clear on goal but lacked the legs to carry. He opted to centre the ball to Faleye who had positioned himself in Libya’s box but Al Maghassi tracked back in time to clear.

The Super Eagles now have four points from two games at the African tournament in Morocco. They will play Equatorial Guinea at the Adrar Stadium in Agadir next Tuesday.

© The Predictor

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