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Super Eagles qualified for the AFCON with a late goal from Ihenacho

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Super Eagles qualified for the AFCON with a late goal from Ihenacho.

By defeating the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone 3-2 on Sunday, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have secured their place in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The visitors won thanks to two goals from Victor Osimhen and a late winner from Kelechi Iheanacho.

On matchday five, Nigeria required a draw in Liberia—Sierra Leone’s temporary home because they lack an international-standard stadium—to earn qualification.

Osimhen, a star for Napoli, helped the Super Eagles get off to a fast start, giving them a two-goal advantage after only 32 minutes.

The 24-year-old, who finished first in scoring in the most recent Serie A season, has been connected with Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid.

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His first goal was an expertly timed lob over 18-year-old custodian Ibrahim Sesay, and his second came after a scrum in the goalmouth.

Mustapha Bundu gave Sierra Leone a goal back just before halftime, and Augustus Kargbo equalised with six minutes left in the game.

Iheanacho scored five minutes into extra time by putting a low cross from Zaidu Sanusi across the goal line. Iheanacho’s Leicester City squad was demoted from the Premier League last month.

When Nigeria and Sierra Leone play, there is often drama. In a 2021 Cup of Nations qualifier, the visiting Leone Stars erased a four-goal deficit after 29 minutes to draw 4-4.

As a result, Guinea-Bissau and three-time winner Nigeria both advanced from Group A after beating Sao Tome and Principe in midweek.