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Iheanacho scores late winner as Nigeria secure AFCON qualification

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles reclaimed leadership of Group A of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers on Sunday in Monrovia with a 3-2 defeat of the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.

The coach Jose Peseiro-tutored side secured their spot in this year’s AFCON, which is to be held in Ivory Coast, after picking up their fourth win in qualification Group A following a tight triumph over Sierra Leone. Kelechi Iheanacho came on to score the winner for Nigeria late in the game after Sierra Leone cancelled out Osimhen’s brace.

Midfielder Ndidi played the entire match on the coast of Liberia, while Kelechi Iheanacho was the late hero – claiming a 95th-minute winner after being introduced 20 minutes from the full-time whistle.

Leicester City’s No.25 was among the starting line-up, while forward Iheanacho was named on the bench for the match-up at Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium, as two first-half goals from Napoli forward and Serie A champion, Victor Osimhen gave the Super Eagles a strong lead after only half an hour.

Mustapha Bundu got a goal back for Sierra Leone just before the interval, inspiring a potential comeback for the home side, who levelled things up in the 84th minute through winger Augustus Kargbo.

While a single point would’ve been enough to secure qualification for this year’s tournament, Iheanacho was keen to have an impact, and netted seconds from time, when the striker tapped in a low cross from FC Porto left-back Zaidu Sanusi.

The win leaves Nigeria at the top of the group, with 12 points, and the Super Eagles face one more group stage game – with qualification already confirmed – when they take on bottom-placed Sao Tome and Principe in September.

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