Nigeria Edge Liberia 2-0 to Maintain Top Spot in Group C

Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi and defender Sampson Dweh battle for the ball during the first-leg in Nigeria.  

Nigeria maintained their two points clear of Group C in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers with a 2-0 win over Liberia on Saturday at the Stade Ibn Batouta in Morocco.

Goals from Victor Osimhen and Ahmed Musa, both from spot-kicks in each half, ensured that the Super Eagles brushed aside Liberia with just a draw needed in their final match progress to the playoffs of the qualifiers.  

Forwards Kelechi Iheanacho and Osimhen only needed the sound of the kickoff whistle to begin causing havoc for Liberia’s defense as they were awarded a penalty after Iheanacho was fouled in the box by goalkeeper Boison Wynney.

Osimhen’s perfectly converted spot-kick in the 15th minute handed Nigeria a 1-0 lead that sent both teams to the first half break with Liberia having just a single shot on target.

Liberia’s chances of progressing had already been dented after their back-to-back defeat against Cape Verde in October, thus making their only target of qualifying humanly unachievable.

Later, in the second 45, Nigeria maintained their attacks in their quest to increase their lead, but couldn’t double their lead until stoppage time when they were awarded another penalty after goalkeeper Wynney fouled Osimhen in the box.

Second half substitute Ahmed Musa converted the spot-kick in the bottom right corner, sending Wynney the wrong way.

The defeat is Liberia’s third successive, as they remain bottom of the group with three points from five matches.

Saturday’s game saw Mark Pabai, and Jamal Arago recording their first cap for the Lone Star.

Up next for the Lone Star is their final group match against the Central African Republic on Wednesday, November 16 in Morocco.

Since Liberia’s back-to-back defeat against Cape Verde there have been mixed reactions about the performance of the team with others calling for the dismissal of British tactician Peter Butler, while others believe that Coach Butler has made progress in “building a youthful team” and therefore needs the time to build the team.    

Lineups

Liberia: Wynney, Pabai, Balde, Dweh, Dorley, Arago, Hellberg (Nije 65′), Macauley (Harmon 82′), Soumaoro, Wilson (Nimely 82′), Abu Kamara (Sanoh 65′).

Nigeria: Okoye; Awaziem, Balogun, Troost-Ekong, Simon, Ndidi, Aribo, Iwobi (Ejuke 62′), Collins, Iheanacho (Musa 87′), Osimhen.