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Nigeria beat Niger 4-1 to top Group C

Nigeria began their campaign at the 2016 African Nations Championship with a 4-1 defeat of Niger Republic at the Stade du Kigali, Rwanda, on Monday.

A hat-trick from substitute Chisom Chikatara and a goal from Osas Okoro gave Nigeria the three points to go to the top of Group C. The Nigeriens’ lone goal was scored by Zakari Adebayor. Chikatara was named the Man-of-the-Match.

Tunisia and Guinea, the other teams in the group had earlier on Monday played a 2-2 draw and are second and third respectively with a point each while Niger are bottom with no point.

Coach Sunday Oliseh had Sunshine Stars’ Ikechukwu Ezenwa in goal while Etim Matthew, Jamiu Alimi, Stephen Eze and captain Chima Akas were in the defence. Paul Onobi, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu and Ifeanyi Matthew were in the midfield while the trio Prince Aggreh, Tunde Adeniji and Okoro were in the attack.

Nigeria started the stronger side as they sought to score the early goal but the Nigeriens had the first shot at goal in the fifth minute from a free-kick that was comfortably gathered by Ezenwa. Aggreh was a culprit as he wasted scoring chances several times.

In the 17th minute, Oliseh made an early substitution as Orji Kalu replaced Alimi in the defence. The Shooting Stars defender got the only yellow card of the match in the ninth minute. The match became an end to end affair as both side searched for the opener but Nigeria were closer to scoring than their West African opponents.

The Eagles’ pressure paid off in the 46th minute. Adeniji threaded a pass to Okoro who side-footed the ball home.

Adeniji was replaced by Chikatara in the 59th minute and the Abia Warriors’ forward doubled Nigeria’s lead in the 75th minute with Okoro assisting the goal. The Mena thereafter grew into the game piling pressure on the Nigerian defence and their efforts paid off in the 80th minute when substitute Adebayor shot a screamer past Ezenwa from the edge of the box.


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