Nigeria go into the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations full of confidence after a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau kept their perfect run going.
Umar Sadiq’s second-half strike put his side in front, before captain William Troost-Ekong doubled the lead after a long VAR review. It means the Super Eagles are the only team to secure maximum points from the group stage.
They will face one of the best third-placed teams in the last 16 on Sunday, as their search for a fourth AFCON title continues.
Nigeria made eight changes to their starting lineup, with their spot in the knockout stages already secured. Premier League trio Troost-Ekong, Wilfried Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho were the only players to keep their place.
The Super Eagles dominated possession from the start as expected, but clear-cut chances were at a premium for much of the half.
Kelechi Nwakali whipped a great ball in from a free-kick and Semi Ajayi got on the end of the cross in front of the goalkeeper, but his header was over the bar.
Nigeria’s best chance fell to Sadiq when he found himself clean through in the box. He went round the goalkeeper, but got the ball stuck under his feet and the Guinea-Bissau defence got back to clear.
Iheanacho had a volley from a corner comfortably saved, while Guinea-Bissau’s only shot of a goalless first-half came when Jorginho scuffed an effort wide when the ball fell to him completely free on the edge of the box.
The Super Eagles took the lead ten minutes into the second-half. Iheanacho was played into space in the box, he curled a perfect pass with the outside of his left foot to the back post where Sadiq had a tap in.
Guinea-Bissau looked for an immediate response, and Francis Uzoho had to be alert to tip behind Jorginho’s well-struck free-kick.
Moses Simon came off the bench and produced a sensational running, beating three Guinea-Bissau defenders before firing a left-footed shot straight against the bar. Troost-Ekong scored as the ball bounced to him a couple of yards out, but he was initially denied by the offside flag. After the VAR checked dragged on for several minutes, the goal was eventually given.
Simon went close to getting on the scoresheet himself after another mazy run as Guinea-Bissau had no answer to his pace, but the angle proved too tight before he fired another effort into the side-netting in stoppage time.
It was another comfortable night for the Super Eagles as they breezed through Group D, and they’re a side that will very much be feared in the knockout stages.