Victor Osimhen Reacts To The Super Eagles Victory Against Host Nation Ivory Coast In Group A "AFCON" Encounter.

Super Eagles of Nigeria talisman Victor Osimhen reacts to the crucial 1-0 victory against the host nation Ivory Coast in their second group game at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 on Thursday night.

The three-time champions narrowly defeated the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in a keenly contested encounter at the Alassanne Quattara Stadium in Ebimpe, Abidjan.

Coming into the game, Nigeria had disappointedly drawn Equatorial Guinea 1-1 in their Group A opener and were under pressure, while Ivory Coast had beaten Guinea Bissau 2-1. 

The Super Eagles were sitting third in the group with one point, as Equatorial Guinea who defeated Guinea Bissau in a goal-fest encounter (4-2) earlier in the day topped the group with four points, while Ivory were second with three points.

Under pressure Nigeria head-coach Jose Peseiro desperately needed to get something out of this game, and this led to him making some adjustments in the line-up, a 5-man defensive 3-4-3 formation that included Chippa United goalkeeper Stanley Nwabili, Fulham defender Calvin Bassey who joins William Troost-Ekong and Semi Ajayi in the back three. Zaidu Sanusi and Ola Aina at left and right wing-back respectively.

In midfield due to the absence of Yusuf Alhassan who got injured in the first game, was the impressive Brentford midfielder Frank Onyeka sitting in front of the backline to cut off any threat from the Ivorian attack.

Onyeka played alongside Fulham midfielder, Alex Iwobi, while the attack was Samuel Chukwueze replacing Moses Simon. The AC Milan man joined Ademola Lookman and Osimhen going forward.

With the first-half ending goalless, it took until the 55th minute before PAOK Salonica centre-back, Troost-EKong scored the decisive goal from the penalty spot after Osimhen was adjourned to have been fouled inside the box by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) as referee Mustapha Gorbal had initially ignored the incident.

With four points from two group games, the win takes the Super Eagles to second behind Equatorial Guinea on goal difference.

Osimhen, who was named Man of the Match, said the team’s plan was to take over the midfield.

“It was a difficult game. Cote d’Ivoire is a difficult opponent but we got our tactics right today,” he told a press conference.

“The plan was to wait for them in midfield and capiltise on their mistakes. Obviously, it worked well for us.

“This is a big win for us and we have to build on this in our next game.”

The Super Eagles’ are almost certainly in the knockout stages, as their next game is against the Djurtus of Guinea-Bissau who are essentially out of the tournament at the Felix Houphouet Boigny, Stadium, Abidjan next Tuesday.

Another three points from that encounter could see them top the group, depending on the other group game between Equatorial Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire who are facing the real prospect of getting dumped out of the competition early. 

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