Victor Osimhen’s sensational treble saw Nigeria U-23 Eagles progress to the final round of the U23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers after defeating Libya 4-0 in the second leg of their double-header qualifying tie at the Stephen Keshi Stadium on Monday.
The Dream Team VII began the AFCON U-23 qualifier double-header against Libya on a wrong foot, going down 2-0 away at the Stade de Ben Guerdane, Libya last Wednesday.
But a clinical showing from Osimhen, whom Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr allowed, alongside two others, to join the U23 side after Seychelles win, and David Okereke’s goal saw them qualify for the continental tournament after sealing a 4-2 aggregate win.
In the 14th minute, the first real chance of the game presented itself to Taiwo Awoniyi, but the on-loan Liverpool striker narrowly missed at point-blank range. Kelechi Nwakali then crashed the bar with a lovely free-kick
A little over the half-hour mark, the Dream Team VII opened the scoring through Osimhen. The striker provided an instinctive touch after Libya’s goalkeeper spilled another superb Nwakali free-kick.
The bar denied Nigeria another goal and a chance to double their lead after Chukwueze’s inswinging free-kick from the far-right hit the top of the bar.
Orji Okonkwo tested the goalkeeper with a low drive from outside the area and, before the break, Osimhen’s ferocious effort crashed the woodwork.
Imama Amapakabo’s lads were levelled after Ebube Duru’s cross was mishandled by the goalkeeper, leaving Osimhen with a simple tap-in. The striker bagged his hat-trick to see Ngeria lead on aggregate, slotting into the net via a lovely Nwakali through ball.
The Sporting Charleroi marksman turned provided for Nigeria’s fourth, with his deft back-heel pass across the face of goal converted by substitute Okereke
Amapakabo’s boys have now progressed to the final round the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifier where they take on the winner between Sudan and Kenya.
Sudan are favourites after defeating Kenya 2-0 in the first leg of the tie.