Omeruo strikes to send Super Eagles into the last 16
Nigeria - Guinea: as it happened
Leganés defender Kenneth Omeruo scored the only goal of the game as Nigeria overcame Guinea 1-0 in Alexandria to book their place in the last 16 of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a game to spare.
The result leaves Guinea, who may be without Naby Keita for their final game, facing an anxious wait to see what transpires between Madagascar and Burundi on Thursday.
Madagascar currently occupy the second automatic qualifying spot with Guinea in third and could seriously complicate the Elephants' chances of reaching the last 16 with victory in the same stadium.
The Super Eagles meanwhile can take it easy in their final fixture against Madagascar with their knock-out stage participation already assured.
Game over. Nigeria 1-0 Guinea.
Final Nigeria change, Simon off.... and that's it! Nigeria are through to the last 16 with a game to spare! Guinea's AFCON hopes are very much in the air! Thanks for joining us!
Traoré steals into the area and Musa, who has quite a battery on him, charges upfield to try and take it to the corner flag.
Nigeria in full-on backs to the wall mode now as Guinea throw the kitchen sink on. Throw to the Elephants on the left....
Three minutes added.
Lass.... oh my word.... We think he was having a go there but he hammers it out for a throw on the far side! Dreadful delivery under the circumstances, with seven or eight red shirts mustered at the far post.
Etebo goes in hard on Ibrahima Traoré, sending the Gladbach player flying, and Guinea have another dangerous free right on the edge of the area... could be their last chance.
Ighalo off for Nigeria, Victor Osimhen on.
Chukwueze plays Musa through and Koné is out quickly to snuff the danger.
Goal kick for Nigeria, Akpeyi in no hurry to take it, the ref tells him to get a move on...
Guinea pressing for a precious equaliser, Nigeria dropping back to protect their slender lead. It's going to be a frantic final few minutes.
Traoré whips it in and Omeruo is clattered by Koné. Fair play to the Lega defender for brushing that one off, it was quite a whack at full pelt.
Ndidi penalised for handball right on the edge of the area! Looked like it his his midriff but the ref gives it anyway. Guinea come piling foward for the delivery.
10 minutes left for Guinea to pull something out of the bag... they'll be in a spot of bother if Madagascar beat Burundi tomorrow.
Ighalo pulled up for offside as he looked to play Chukwueze through.
No, sorry, it's Iwobi who's heading off. He's had a decent game as well, by and large.
Villarreal's Samuel Chukwueze comes on to replace Simon, who has run himself into the ground today.
Wind in the Eagles' sails now and Simon dances though into the area before being floored. No penalty, but the Levante player stays down.
That, as it stands, means the Super Eagles are through to the last 16 with a game to spare! Guinea with 15 minutes to prevent that happening.
Kenneth Omeruo! Goooooooooool! Simon with the delivery from the corner flag and the Leganés defender nods it past the great wall of Koné!
Mikael Dyrestam heads off.
Corner to Nigeria an Iwobi attempt pings over the bar.
And Keita finally calls it a day, Vancouver winger Lass coming on to replace him.
Musa again, he's been a real livewire this afternoon, and he wins a throw on the right after another lung-bursting run.
Etebo takes and it's hit well enough but straight at Koné, who takes no chances and punches it clear.
Ernest Seka in the book and Nigeria have a handy looking free about 25 yards out.
Nope, fair play to the lad! He's back on! It's like Rocky IV out there. He is a sheet of steel!
It looks as though Keita has finally had enough... he hadn't played in two months before coming on as a sub against Madagascar and he's been roughed up something proper this afternoon.
Nigeria are still looking to hit on the break but there are some tired legs out there now and Iwobi is forced to check his run with nobody ahead of him.
Musa in the book for another tactical foul on Kamano, who was heading clean through on goal on the break there.
Koné! What a save! Iwobi hammers a shot towards the far corner and the Pau keeper makes a fine diving stop.
It clears everyone and Nigeria break through Musa, who tries to find Ighalo in the middle but the lass is lacking.
Corner for Guinea, Kamano to take...
Nigeria try to pick a way through but Guinea are well organised at the back when defending and it's basically three on seven. The ball is defelcted from Iwobi's pass into the gloves of Akpeyi.
Ndidi! The midfielder nicks the ball and charges through, causing Falette to chuck out a leg and concede a corner with Ighalo licking his lips at the prospect of getting his boot on that cross.
The indefatigable Simon charges down the left and tries to win a corner off his two markers but it's out for a goal kick.
Kamano goes on a leggy run and hammers a shot just wide. He's going to try and take on the mantle of Keita by the loks of things with the captain taking a back seat before he's crocked by Nigeria's attention.
Sylla goes route one but it's straight out for a goal kick.
Iwobi is unsure whether to cross or shoot from the left and ends up doing neither. Goal kick.
Keita is back on as well, a message from Paul Put to Nigeria... kick him as much as you like, we ain't taking him off.
Sylla is back on at least.
It looks like the Liverpool man, who has been kicked about a fair bit this afternoon, won't be able to continue as he limps to the sidelines.
Keita dances around on the edge of the area and shapes to shoot but he's clipped by Ndidi... and stays down in what looks like potentially bad news for Guinea.
Sylla is temporarily off the pitch with what looks like a knee issue.
Simon does well to leave his marker and bursts down the right, winning a corner. Half-hearted penalty appeal from the Levante man but it hit Falette in the elbow, which was stuck to his short. No dice.
Nigeria get the ball rolling!
Second half about to get underway....
six shots apiece in that first half, three on target from Guinea, just the one for Nigeria, who have been under the cosh a bit and stuck in 14 tackles.
And there's the half! 0-0 it remains in Alexandria, where there have been a few decent chances but as yet no goals.
Traoré with the last kick of the half and it's a crack from distance but well wide.
One minute added. It's been a quality, high-tempo and very clean half. Just the one yellow, for a very necessary, ahem, technical foul from Falette.
And it's Keita who picks out Kamano on the left. He drives into the area and Nigeria clear in extremis.
Meanwhile, Keita is down in a heap. There's a few concerned glances between his teammates and the bench but it looks like he'll be ok to continue, just a knock.
Excellent footwork from Kaba and it's a good chance for Guinea but the cross is left for an onrushing midfielder who fails to materialise.
Ufffff. Excellent defending from Aina who spots Keita's cheeky ball behind the defence and sticks a boot out to prevent a clear chance.
Decent foray into Nigerian territory from Guinea but Cissé tries a shot from about 30 yards that doesn't bother Akpeyi in the slightest.
Several changes of possession and Nigeria finally get an attack together but Iwobi's attempted through ball is to nobody in particular and trickles out for a goal kick.
Corner slung in by Etebo and Awaziem meets it at the far post but can't steer his header on target.
Iwobi! What a crack from the Arsenal player and Koné had to make an excellent save there.
Nigeria appeal for a penalty as Musa goes down in the area. They get a corner instead. It's not a great one and cleared at the near post.
Free for NIgeria now as Simon is flattened by Cissé.
Keita shows his skill in midfield and rides three fouls before the ref calls the scrap and awards a free kick. Excellent feet from the Liverpool man.
That should have been it! Ighalo is clean through but decides to have a go at the near post with Musa charging into the middle. The keeper had left something to aim at there but surely he should have squared that? Musa seems to agree. Great chance for Nigeria.
Still goalless at the half-hour mark but we fancy it won't be long until the can is opened. Guinea attack again through Naby Keita but he's well-shadowed and can't keep the ball in.
Nigeria hurl long throw into the area and there are plenty of green shirts there but Guinea clear.
Falette into the book as he brings Ighalo down in the crudest fashion to prevent a Nigeria break. The Eagles' striker remains on the deck after that. Iwobi had threaded the ball through and he was clean on goal had Falette not intervened.
Ndidi gets up again and heads towards goal but there was a foul on the covering defender.
Ola Aina tries his luck from distance but he was never going to catch Koné out from there.
Guinea looking like the more likely to open the scoring in Alexandria...
Kamano! Onto the roof of the net! Decent crack from the Bordeaux winger.
Foul on Sylla and it's right on the edge of the area! Guinea thought they had a penalty there... dangerous position anyway.
Another loose ball from Nigeria and Traoré goes blazing down the right but the Eagles recover. There'll be a ticking off from Rohr at half time about some really sloppy passing from his midfield.
Simon! The Levante winger makes it two for the Super Eagles but gets under an excellent chance and whacks it into the stands.
Possession completely even thus far but Guinea have managed three attempts to Nigeria's one.
Awaziem is clocking up quite a foul count for Nigeria. Won't be long before he goes in the book at this rate.
Sylla drives forward from the full back position and gets into the area, where he might have gone down and chanced his luck to be honest (not that we condone that sort of thing of course) but his cross is deflected into the gloves of Akpeyi.
Ndidi! The towering Leicester midfielder rises above the Guinea defence and plants a firm header just wide!
Musa feeds Iwobi and the Arsenal man is through but dithers in the area and the ball is nicked off his foot for a corner.
Another loose ball and Kaba is away like a whippet but Balogun manages to match him pace for pace and concedes the corner. Nigeria need to be a little less loose with their passing in midfield... Kaba has a set of heels on him.
Terrible ball from Iwobi across his own back line and Kaba pounces on it but the Elche striker didn't realise how much time he had there and snapped at his shot, which goes harmlessly wide. Decent chance for Guinea.
Guinea's turn now as Kamano fires a cross into the Nigeria area but it's dealt with with minmum fuss.
A long throw from Nigeria spreads panic in the Guinea box but the Elephants manage tohook it clear. It only goes as far as Musa though and he skips into the area to feed Ighalo, who can't quite leather it as he intended right under Akpeyi's nose! Good stuff from Musa there.
Dangerous attack from NIgeria, good work on the right from Simon who manages to get the ball into Ighalo but the striker is crowded out as he tries to dig a shot out inside the six-yard box.
Cissé! Akpeyi needed strong hands there to parry a thunderus shot from the edge of the area from the Fulham man.
Koné wallpos the ball straight out for a throw, looking for his left back Sylla... not the most confidence boosting start for the keeper.
And we're off! Guinea get us underway!
Huge cheer from the Nigerian fans and now we go with the Guinea anthem...
Here we go with the anthems....
Just under 10 minutes to go until kick-off in the Alexandria Stadium... teams in the tunnels, flags being brought out...
Guinea's best showing at an AFCON finals is the quarter-finals, most recently in 2015, but a defeat today, depending on what happens in the other Group B match between Madagascar and Burundi, could leave the Elephants in some serious schtuck.
A win today for Nigeria will see them through, making a spot of history as the first side to reach an AFCON last 16 stage after the expansion of the tournament from 16 to 24 teams.
Guinea's fans were in full colourful flow against Madagascar, even if the result didn't go their way. Who will be celebrating at the end of the 90 in Alexandria?
It seems that the virus reportedly sweeping the Nigeria camp wasn't that bad after all. Over to you, Paul...
Nigeria's team has been announced, with Ighalo starting up top after his goal-scoring cameo against Burundi and Mikel, as expected, dropping to the bench.
Guinea manager Paul Put was in charge of the Burkina Faso side who lost the 2013 final against Nigeria and will be in the mood for a little revenge and the Syli Nationale go into the game in rude health – that draw against Madagascar notwithstanding – after topping their qualifying group unbeaten ahead of traditional powerhouse Ivory Coast.
Guinea’s star man, Naby Keita, will start in Alexandria after coming on as a substitute against Madagascar following a thigh injury and will form the fulcrum of Put’s midfield. Guinea may opt for a 4-1-4-1 given the threat posed by Samuel Chukwueze and Alex Iwobi out wide for the Super Eagles, with QPR’s Ibrahima Traoré and Bordeaux’s François Kamano providing the opposition on the Guinea flanks.
Auxerre striker Mohamed Yattara, the top scorer in the squad with 10 goals in 33 caps, will lead the line for a side that does not exactly score for fun and could look to frustrate Nigeria and hit on the break.
Nigeria go into their second Group B game at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in the knowledge that victory will see them through to the last 16 with a game to spare after Odion Ighalo’s 77th minute strike gave the Super Eagles, the 2013 champions, a 1-0 victory over Burundi in their opening fixture.
That, coupled with Madagascar springing a surprise by picking up their first-ever point at the tournament against a strong Guinea side, will leave the 2015 quarter-finalists, who did not qualify for the last Cup of Nations, playing catch-up in their final group game against Burundi if the Super Eagles claim all three points.
However, reports of a bout of sickness sweeping through the Nigeria camp and injuries to starting full backs Shehu Abdullahi and Jamilu Collins have provided Gernot Rohr with a bit of a headache, but the Super Eagles boss should be able to call on Bordeaux winger Samuel Kalu after he missed the opening game.