AFCON qualifier: Onuachu’s late goal ends Benin’s 8-year unbeaten home record

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The Super Eagles beat Benin Republic 1-0 to end the Squirrels’ eight-year unbeaten home run at the Stade Charles De Gaulle on Saturday.

There was a chance for Benin Republic early on as Jordan Adeoti headed a cross wide.

Henry Onyekuru, Galatasaray winger, thereafter pinged a pass over the defence for Victor Osimhen who latched on to down the channel, but his effort plucked out wide on six minutes.

Goalkeeper Saturnin Allagbe stayed grounded to deny Kelechi Iheanacho from 26 yards. The striker went on a solo effort before sending a delicious effort towards goal.

Nigeria started to let their feet off the pedal and allowed Benin Republic into the game as an unmarked Steve Mounie got his finish wrong at the edge of the box.

The busy Allagbe was once again at alert to deny Osimhen from Iheanacho’s flick.

In the 34th minute, Ola Aina, Fulham full-back, whipped a dangerous long pass into the area which had Benin Republic worried, while Yohan Roche also blocked a powerful shot from Iheanacho for a corner.

The best chance of the first half fell to the lively Onyekuru whose sweet header was smartly shovelled away by Allagbe.

After the break, both sides asked some questions about their approach to the game.

A lack of communication between William Troost-Ekong and Maduka Okoye almost gifted Benin Republic the curtain-raiser. Steve Mounie also got a touch to the ball and it almost sailed home.

Osimhen then penetrated the territory of Benin Republic and released a shot which cannon off the bar.

Anayo Iwuala, Enyimba winger, made his international debut in the 80th minute.

Moments later, the petit player caused problems for the Squirrels with his mobility.

There was, however, a well-deserved last-minute winner for Nigeria as Paul Onuachu, who came in as a substitute, headed the ball home after a bubble in the box.

The Super Eagles, who have now qualified for next year’s AFCON, will then take on the Crocodiles of Lesotho on Tuesday at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos.

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