Sports

Eagles trounce Sudan, soar to second round

•Simon named MVP

 

Nigeria are through to the round of 16 of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after a 3-1 win over Sudan on Saturday. Goals from Samuel Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi and Moses Simon were enough to help the Super Eagles grab their second win in Cameroon despite a 70th-minute goal from Sudan’s Walieldin Khedr.

 

Eguavoen did not make any changes to the starting XI that defeated Egypt on Tuesday and it did not take long for them to break the deadlock.

 

A long throw from Ola Aina into the penalty box started the move, which was well controlled by Simon who made a pass to Chukwueze to power in a low shot in the third minute.

Although the Super Eagles were  in charge, Sudan did not make it easy in the opening minutes as they forced goalkeeper Maduka Okoye to make a fine save in the 14th minute off a shot from Mohamed Al Rashed.

 

In the 25th minute, Iheanacho played a through ball to Taiwo Awoniyi, but the Union Berlin striker’s shot was blocked by Salaheldin Nemer for a cornerkick. Nigeria continued their push for a second goal with three consecutive chances from William Troost- Ekong, Awoniyi and Joe Aribo but they could not beat goalkeeper Ali Abu Eshrein.

 

The wait finally paid off on the stroke of half-time as Awoniyi broke his Super Eagles duck with his header after Troost-Ekong’s header was first blocked. Immediately after the restart with Alex Iwobi introduced for Chukwueze, Simon finished off a fine individual run with a low drive to stretch Nigeria’s lead to 3-0  Shortly after that, Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Nwakali replaced Iheanacho and Aribo respectively.

 

Sudan got a penalty after a VAR review showed that Aina pulled and stepped on Mustafa Karshoum in a corner-kick situation. Khedr stepped forward to take  and he sent Okoye the wrong way to score the Falcons of Jediane’s maiden goal in Cameroon which later turned out to be a consolation.

Eguavoen’s men held on to the 3-1 lead to stretch their dominance in Group D after two matches while Sudan still have a point after the same number of matches.

 

The three-time African champions will hope to end their group campaign on a high when they face Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday while Sudan have a date with Egypt. Meanwhile, Simon was named the Most Valuable Player of the match

 

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