Nigeria will be looking to bounce back from last week’s shock collapse to Sierra Leone when the sides meet again on Tuesday evening (17:00pm Nigerian time) for the second leg of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at the Siaka Stevens stadium in Freetown.
In one of the most exciting games of the campaign so far, the Super Eagles surprisingly blew a 4-0 lead after a massive collapse in the second half to draw 4-4 with the Leone Stars on Friday.
A brace from Alex Iwobi coupled with goals from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze had put the home side comfortably ahead inside half an hour. In fact, it seemed like game over already but not on this occasion. There was to be drama before 90 minutes. Kwame Quee pulled one back for the visitors before the break, followed by Alhaji Kamara’s double and a strike from Mustapha Bundu in the second half to seal a stunning comeback that left Nigerian fans stunned and short of words.
Nigerian captain Ahmed Musa and defender Leon Balogun apologized to the fans in the post-match interview and vowed to go to Freetown and ‘get a result’. However, John Keister’s side will be upbeat and in full confidence after the phenomenal comeback. No doubt, they won’t make it easy for the Super Eagles in the return match.
You would barely find a single person who could have predicted that Nigeria and Sierra Leone would both hit the back of the net four times in their showdown on Friday but that is exactly what happened at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
While the Super Eagles would have been shocked to the core by Sierra Leone’s incredible comeback, Nigeria remains top of Group L by one point ahead of second-placed Benin. Although, Rohr’s side have now conceded the most goals in the group following that eight-goal thriller.
Nigeria will be aiming to be at top spot when the group stage reaches its conclusion in March 2021. With Benin expected to dispatch Lesotho this week, the Super Eagles cannot afford to throw away another lead in such calamitous fashion when they face off against Sierra Leone again.
88 places separate Nigeria and Sierra Leone in the world rankings, but after recording a good result against one of Africa’s top teams, Sierra Leone are definitely heading into this encounter on cloud nine as they bid to make an unexpected appearance in the AFCON tournament.
Four of Sierra Leone’s five goals in the group were scored on Friday, with the Leone Stars opening their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Lesotho before suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat to Benin.
Sierra Leone have only ever been to the AFCON twice in their history (1994 and 1996). They are still in there with a chance to make it to 2022 but they will need to pull off shock results in their favor (just like their last outing against the Super Eagles).
Nigeria to win
Based on quality, the Super Eagles no doubt have an edge over their opponents and we’re tipping them to come out on top. After what happened last week, we’re expecting a more low-key affair with both sides playing with more caution in order to avoid shipping unnecessary goals. 1xbet have 1.54 odds for the Super Eagles to win, Betway 1.56 and Bet9ja lead the way at 1.58 odds.
Sierra Leone will be on full confidence on home turf but we expect Nigeria to claim a hard-fought victory here.
Goals – Over 2.5
Don’t expect another goal-fest like you saw at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium that’s for sure. However, it’s a game with a potential of bringing a decent goal count and both sides have shown they are well equipped to score at least. We’re expecting over 2.5 goals to come through in this one. 1xbet have 1.60 odds, Betway have 1.62 and Bet9ja once again lead the pile with 1.68 odds.
With Victor Osimhen suffering a shoulder injury and out of this clash, Kelechi Iheanacho could be the man chosen by Rohr to lead the line. The Leicester man has been on decent form this season and he is a good shout to get a goal today. Bet9ja are offering an interesting 2.50 odds for him to score.
The Everton star will be brimming with confidence after bagging a brace in the last game against Sierra Leone. Many have complained about his end product for the Super Eagles but it’s shown that he performs better when he’s deployed further up the pitch (like in the Sierra Leone game).
Rohr will no doubt take a similar approach and that could put Iwobi in a good position to score once again. A massive 3.25 odds is on offer from Bet9ja for him to score.
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