Nigeria surprisingly made a hard job of beating Seychelles on the final day of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification series, but the performance on Friday was put down to the fact that the Super Eagles had made sure of a place in Egypt before kick –off.
What was supposed to be a stroll turned into a trudge as the Eagles failed to find the opener, and the semi –professionals from the Indian Ocean island impressed with some inswingers and smart pull –outs.
Cape Verdian referee Fabricio Duarte awarded Nigeria a penalty in the 34th minute, judging that midfielder Wilfred Ndidi had been unfairly hacked in the box. Odion Ighalo made no mistake from the spot, recreating the spot kick he scored to make it 3-0 for the Eagles in Seychelles during the first leg in September 2018.
Six minutes later, a free kick close to the box by Oghenekaro Etebo was punched away by the brilliant Ah Kong Ian. A minute later, Nigerian goalkeeper Francis Uzoho’s howler, as he came out to punch the ball from a free –kick, allowed Melanie Rody good time and space to equalize.
In the 50th minute, Henry Onyekuru headed past Ian from a pull –out by Jamilu Collins, to restore Nigeria’s lead. But the visitors again came close to securing a leveler in the 73rd minute as a Mellie Warren missed the ball in the six –yard box from a low pull –out.
Substitute Moses Simon made it 3-1 for Nigeria as he slotted firmly into the net after a run from the left flank by Collins.
The Eagles will on Tuesday at the same venue tackle the Pharaohs of Egypt in a prestige international friendly.