Monday, 21 August 2017

Ezenwa the hero as Nigeria qualify for CHAN 2018

FC IfeanyiUbah goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa was the hero in Kano as CHAN Eagles beat the Squirrels of Benin Republic 2-0 (2-1 on aggregate) to book a place in the 2018 CHAN Championship to be staged in Kenya.

The Home Eagles who head into the second leg knowing a 2-goal marking victory is all they need to make it to the next round had to work for their victory on a sunny Saturday at the Sani Abacha stadium.

Coach Salisu Yusuf started Rabiu Ali, Alhassan Ibrahim while Afeez Aremu was dropped to the bench.

His 4-3-3 had Ikechukwu Ezenwa in goal; Osas Okoro, Stephen Eze, Emmanuel Ariwachukwu, Chima Akas making up the back four Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Rabiu Ali, Samuel Mathias as the midfield trio and Alhassan Ibrahim, Stephen Odey, Kingsley Eduwo upfront.

Within the first 4 minutes, Rabiu Ibrahim and Osas Okoro gave the Squirrels a hint of what is to come with both players having a pop at goal.

With Rabiu Ali, Kingsley Eduwo and Ibrahim Alhassan mounting serious pressure on the away team their play was soon rewarded when Rabiu Ali finished off a sweet move involving the Akwa United attacker in the 22nd minutes.

It was a back and forth play from both teams and at the end of the first 45 minutes, Rabiu Ali’s goal was the difference.

Very early in the second half Kingsley Eduwo nodded home Osas Okoro’so cross to increase Nigeria’s tally to 2 after 4th minutes of play.

The game from then on continued to be a back and forth play as both teams continued to do what will take them to the next round but three minutes after the hour mark referee Esono awarded a penalty to the visitors.

Stephen Eze was adjudged to have blocked a goal-boudoir effort with his hand and Seibou who scored last week in Cotonou stepped up only for his effort to be saved by Ezenwa before Eze made a timely clearance.

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