AFCON qualifier: Sierra Leone stage comeback to draw Eagles in Benin
NEWSMAN – Sierra Leone staged an outstanding comeback to draw against the Super Eagles in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin.
The three-time African Champions started on good note but crumbled in the second half of the game.
The Eagles raced into a four-goal lead before the half-hour mark through a brace from Alex Iwobi and strikes from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze.
Super Eagles dominated the opening minutes of the encounter and made their effort count in the fourth minute when Iwobi fired in a tame strike from the edge of the box to give Gernot Rohr’s side the lead.
Kei Kamara had a chance to equalize for the Leone Stars in the 18th minute but failed to score.
Immediately after Kamara’s failed to score, Nigeria doubled their advantage through Osimhen who poked in Zaidu Sanusi’s delightful low cross in the 22nd minute.
Iwobi scored his second goal of the game and the third goal for Nigeria came in the 27th minute curling in a shot from 30 yards after strings from crisp passes between Musa and Osimhen.
Chukwueze made it 4-0 two minutes later when he latched on to a flick pass from Osimhen and raced through on goal beating his marker before scoring.
Quame Quee reduced the deficit for the Leone Stars in the 41st, after Kamara robbed Chukwueze of the ball in the midfield and played a perfect pass for Quee to score. The strike means the Eagles have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five games.
In the second half, the Eagles failed to replicate their dominance conceding three goals in the last 20 minutes of the encounter.
Sierra Leone coach John Keister brought on Alhaji Kamara and Rodney Strasser for Alie Sesay and John Kamara respectively and the pair made an instant impact scoring in the 72nd and 81st minute.
Mustapha Bundu grabbed a late equaliser for the Leone Stars four minutes from time.
Despite the draw, the Eagles still lead Group L with seven points from three games while the Leone Stars now have two points from three games.