AFCON 2017 qualifier: Iheanacho’s goal dims Taifa Stars

A 78th minute’s goal by Kelechi Iheanacho on Saturday, gave a wasteful Super Eagles a

1-0 win over the Taifa Stars of Tanzania, in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) group qualifier decided at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium, Uyo.

It was the first game since Franco-German coach Gernot Rohr took over the Eagles job last month.

Fans who had obviously hoped for a goal harvest in a dead rubber game at the Nest of Champions went home disappointedly as the Eagles wasted a number of scoring chances that could have made nonsense of the visitors if well utilised.

However, Saturday’s match also served as a build up for the Super Eagles ahead of next month’s group B clash with Zambia in a 2018 World Cup qualifier in Ndola.

Watford striker, Odion Ighalo began the catalogue of misses in Uyo as he hit the ball wide after receiving a pass from Iheanacho in the box barely two minutes into the game.

Captain John Mikel Obi set a pass in the 12th minute for Ahmed Musa, but the Leicester City star failed to utilise the chance.

Mikel’s header a minute later from Musa Mohammed’s cross missed the target.

Manula in the 24th minute denied Iheanacho of scoring, while Victor Moses wasted another chance two minutes later when he shot wide at close range.

Moses in the 33rd minute also lost chance as Manula reacted quickly, while the Tanzanian keeper also in the 42nd minute pulled off a big save to prevent Ighalo from hitting the back of the net.

Mikel, was replaced by Wilfred Ndidi in the 63rd minute as the captain’s armband was handed over to the Leicester City’s record signing, Musa.

Brown Ideye came on to replace Ighalo in the 73rd minute as the Eagles intensified efforts to get a winner.

After a catalogue of misses, Manchester City’s starlet, Iheanacho in a display of sheer brilliance created a space to shoot at the edge of the box which eventually beat goalkeeper Aishi Manula for the only goal of the match.

FC Mainz of Germany defender, Leon Balogun, was booked during added time as Wolverhampton Wanderers’ goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme maintained a clean slate for the Eagles in the formality game.

Meanwhile, The Citizens have lauded the performance of their player, Iheanacho.

“Kelechi’s wonder strike gives Nigeria’s Super Eagles a 1-0 win over Tanzania. Well done, Kelechi!” Manchester City wrote on its official twitter handle.