VICTOR Osimhen’s strike and Kenny Rocha Santos’ own goal helped Nigeria come from behind to beat Cape Verde 2-1 in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Tuesday evening in Mindelo.
Two defensive blunders from the hosts secured maximum points for the Super Eagles as they clinched back-to-back wins in Group C.
It was a memorable outing for Ahmed Musa who made his 100th appearance for the Super Eagles while Malmo’s Innocent Bonke and Bolgona’s Kingsley Michael were handed starting debuts, in the absence of Wilfred Ndidi and Joe Aribo.
The Blue Sharks drew first blood in the 19th minute after Dylan Dos Santos beat an offside trap to fire his left-footed shot past goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.
Five minutes later, Ryan Mendes tried to test the Super Eagles shot-stopper with another shot but it went off target. Osimhen and Ejuke linked up a few minutes later as Nigeria kept pushing for an equaliser and the CSKA Moscow winger forced Cape Verde’s Vozinha to parry his long-range shot for a corner-kick.
Their push finally paid off as Osimhen capitalised on a defensive error to draw both teams level in the 29th minute.
Ejuke proved to be a threat to the Blue Sharks’ defence with his long-range efforts, he again forced Vozinha to make a fine save off his curling right shot from the edge of the box.
Nigeria started the second half with a much higher tempo with Nantes winger Moses Simon winning a number of fouls for the visitors.Just before the hour-mark, Cape Verde coach Bubista opted to introduce Garry Rodrigues for Vagner whileRohr made his tactical changes in the 70th minute as Henry Onyekuru and Terem Moffi replaced Simon and Musa respectively.
Onyekuru made an instant impact but his effort lacked power to beat Vozinha, however, they finally turned the game around after another defensive error.
Kenny Rocha Santos played the ball into his team’s net after the goalkeeper had left his position.With three minutes left on the clock, Vagner Dias nearly canceled the Super Eagles’ second goal but his header was slightly off target.
Nigeria top the group with six points following the 2-0 victory over Liberia in Lagos last weekend who are now with three points after they defeated Central African Republic 1-0 in Douala, Cameroon, also on Tuesday.
Both CAR and Cape Verde boast one point each after two round of matches.