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Super Eagles finish AFCON qualifiers as second best overall in points, goals

THE Super Eagles’ win over Lesotho and the three goals they scored ensured they ended the qualifying campaign for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations as one of the top teams.

Victor Osimhen, Oghenekaro Etebo and Paul Onuachu scored the goals at the Teslim Balogun Stadium as the Super Eagles defeated Lesotho 3-0 on Tuesday to conclude the series as Group L winners and top scorers.

The Nigerians will join 23 other teams in Cameroon in 2022 for the tournament that had to be postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the end of the series, the Super Eagles scored 14 goals and finished with 14 points. They are joint-second in both goals scored and points gained among the 48 teams that took part in the group stages.

Algeria, who are the defending champions, are the top scoring team with 19 goals, while Tunisia who finished fourth in the 2019 AFCON had the most points in the qualifiers with 16.

The Super Eagles got their 14 points from four wins and two draws, and failed to score in only one match, the 0-0 draw against Sierra Leone in Freetown in November.

They beat Benin Republic 2-1 in Uyo, defeated Lesotho 4-2 in Maseru, both in late 2019. Gernot Rohr’s team, due to the pandemic, then had to wait a full year before their next set of matches, the back-to-back clashes with Sierra Leone that ended in two draws (4-4 and 0-0).

The Super Eagles concluded the qualifiers with two wins in March, first a 1-0 victory over Benin Republic in Porto Novo and on Tuesday the 3-0 win over Lesotho in Lagos.

Three other teams finished the qualifiers with 14 points: Morocco, Algeria and Senegal.

In terms of goals, Tunisia are joint-second with Nigeria on 14. 

The Super Eagles kept consecutive clean sheets in their final three matches, but the seven goals they conceded in their first four games rank them 24th in the combined ‘goals against’ table. 

Burkina Faso and Morocco had the meanest defence with both teams conceding just one goal each.

Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen also emerged as joint-top scorer with five goals, along with Zambia’s Patson Daka.

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