AFCON 2021: Nigeria secure last-16 place with win over Sudan

Nigeria are through to the last-16 of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, with a game to spare, after beating Sudan 3-1 at the Stade Roumdé Adjia.

Goals from Samuel Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi and Moses Simon gave Austin Eguavoen’s men a 3-0 lead, before Walieldin Khidir pulled one back.

It took the Nigerians just three minutes to get in front. The goal came through Chukwueze, who fired a low shot into the middle after receiving a short pass from Simon.

Just before the break, Awoniyi made it 2-0 for the three-time winners with a lucky finish. William Troost-Ekong connected with Kelechi Iheanacho’s freekick. The Watford defender’s header bounced off a defender’s head and then inadvertently hit Awoniyi before going into the bottom corner.

Moses Simon celebrates after scoring Nigeria’s third goal

And less than a minute after the second half kicked off, Simon raced forward and lofted the ball into the box. It looked like his intention was to set up Awoniyi, but he chased the ball and brought it down with his chest before firing beyond Ali Abu-Eshrein in the Sudan goal.

After Simon scored, it seemed like the Nigerians — who opened their AFCON campaign with a 1-0 win over one of the pre-tournament favourites Egypt on Tuesday — were going to secure another clean sheet. However, the Falcons of Jediane pulled one back after Ola Aina gave away a penalty with an off-the-ball challenge.

 

The centre referee gave Burhan Tia’s side a spot-kick after a VAR review found Aina guilty of dangerous play in the penalty area after the ball was played in — and Al-Hilal Omdurman star Khidir stepped up to send Maduka Okoye the wrong way.

With the outcome, Nigeria lead Group D with six points, and they’d be confirmed as group leaders if the tie between Egypt and Guinea-Bissau — scheduled for 8pm — ends in a draw.

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