Despite an early scare, Nigeria too strong for plucky Lesotho
Lesotho 2-4 Nigeria
Despite conceding a shock 11th minute goal to FIFA ranked 138th side Lesotho, Nigeria soon got to grips with the artificial surface at the Maseru stadium and, as was the case midweek in Uyo, the Super Eagles came from behind to secure maximum points.
Goals from Iwobi and Villarreal striker Chukwueze before the break calmed any nerves and were pivotal in taking the wind out of a valiant Lesotho side who did their best to make a contest of the match.
Victor Osimhen who delivered a solid display for the Super Eagles saw his hard work and persistence pay off with two late goals (mins. 75 and 85) to put the contest beyond doubt and there was a consolation for the home side at the end as Awaziem poked the ball past Daniel Akpeyi in the Nigeria goal to give the scoreline a degree of respectability.
So, in the end a convincing performance from Nigeria despite the early scare. Star of the night was Victor Osimhen and we hope his knock is nothing serious.
The Group L table after two rounds of games, Benin and Nigeria in commanding positions and favourites to progress.
The whistle sounds in Maseru and the Super Eagles march on with maximum points from both opening games. As was the case in Uyo Gernot Rohr's side had to dig deep and come from behind.
AS English man of the match tonight in Maseru: Victor Osimhen (Lille & Nigeria)
Next up for Super Eagles is a double header home and away to Sierra Leone.
Credit to the home side. Lesotho briefly had Nigerian nerves jangling with the 11th minute goal but the gulf in class became apparent as the first half progressed.
The No. 9 is limping from the pitch and Nigeria may have to end the game with ten men having made the full allocation of substitutions.
The striker seems to have picked up a problem though. Was carrying a knock from a rough tackle a few minutes ago and the sprint in bagging the goal has hampered the forward.
Osimhen trending in Nigeria and correctly so, the Lille player has been dazzling tonight in Maseru.
Kalu is on for Nigeria, Moses Simon making way for the Bordeaux man
Osimhen again goes close for the Super Eagles and would have expected to hit the target as he pulls the ball wide. The goal again has drained Lesotho of any momentum they were gathering.
Tumelo Khutlang off - Tseka on
Well into the final fifteen now with the goal surely calming any nerves Gernot Rohr would have had.
The Lille striker sliding to connect and put they game beyond doubt for the visitors.
Lesotho seem to have rediscovered some of the form they offered in the first half and are enjoying more of the ball now.
Semi Ajayi carded and the first Super Eagle in the book tonight
Azeez on for Nigeria - Aribo off
Possession stats after 70': Lesotho 37-63 Nigeria (%)
Sera Motebang seems to have been pulled back in front of goal ...did Collins pull the Lesotho man's shirt? Ref. waves play on. With just one goal in it, the unfancied Lesotho are still at the races.
Lesotho win a corner as Daniel Akpeyi fumbles, A stray Lesotho header drifts wide and Nigeria build from the back.
Musa winning his 90th cap this evening on Maseru.
Musa on Chukwueze off for Nigeria.
Still no way through for Nigeria as they try and pass intricate short passes by the men in white.
Masoabi has the finest effort for Lesotho in the second with his effort just dipping over the Nigeria bar. This scoreline is dangerous for Super Eagles.
The German coach still yet to shuffle his pack in Maseru with less than half an hour remaining on the clock.
Approaching the hour mark and despite Nigeria's domination, Gernot Rohr will want to secure another goal to avoid a nervous end to the contest.
Thabantso on - Rammoneng Mohau off (Lesotho change)
Wave after wave of Nigeria pressure now as Osimhen forces a fine save from Ntsane Lichaba
Lisema Lebokollane carded for a foul on Villarreal's Chukwueze
Lesotho don´t have the same fluidity as they displayed in the first 45 with Daniel Akpeyi a virtual spectator for the past 30 minutes.
Nigeria almost make it three after confusion among the men in white, they eventaully manager to clear the ball.
Oshimen hits the bar. Great feed from Iwobi as the Lille striker thunders the bar off the crossbar. The Lille man really does deserve a goal this evening for his effort and determination.
Fothoane comes on for The Crocodiles in the 47th minute. Tshwalero Bereng makes way
It's 138 FIFA ranked (Lesotho) vs 35 Nigeria.
Both teams are back on the artificial surface of the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru
A quick break and we´ll be right back with the second half from Maseru.
That's the end of the first 45' in Maseru. Nigeria ahead after an early scare with the home side taking an early lead.
Lesotho with an over reliance on the long ball as we head into the one minute of added time.
So after an early scare in Maseru, Nigeria very much on top as the break looms.
Oshimen almost bags a third with a pass for Iwobi a better option. Fine display from the Lille striker today.
Agree with Biig Jay here, the Lille player is the star turn for Nigeria this evening.
Into the 40th minute we go and Nigeria totally domuinating propceedings at present.
Nigeria almost make it three as Victor Osimhen fizzes a shot wide of the post. All Nigeria at present as the Crocodiles will be hoping to keep the score down ahead of the interval.
Poor defending from the home side as the Villarreal man sneaks in heading over the Lesotho stopper.
Nigeria take the lead on Maseru. Samuel Chukwueze bags his second goal for Nigeria heading home.
Nigeria now pushing for a second before the interval.
Nigeria now playing with added confidence, amazing what a goal can do for morale!
Simon fires on goal and Ntsane Lichaba punches away.
So, is that the end of the Lesotho dream? For 15' they matched a side a 100 places above them in the FIFA rankings and one would fancy Super Eagles to ouch on now and finish the job.
Gooooooool Iwobi fire the Super Eagles level after Victor Osimhen robs the ball. Fine finish from the Everton man.
First card of the night goes to Tsera Kopano (Lesotho)
The bounce of the ball really is unpredictable on this pitch as it bobbles about with two, three touches needed to bring the ball under control.
The Lesotho side certainly the more comfortable on the artificial surface as Nigeria's final pass seems lacking at present.
Nigeria win a free kick as Joe Aribo is fouled. Simon takes but easy for the Lesotho keeper to punch away. Nothing to date to really test the Crocodiles stopper.
Still a long way to go here in Maseru and one would imagine with the quality on the pitch for Nigeria that Gernot Rohr's men would be able to dig deep and bounce back.
First chance of the game, first goal of the game, the header was dispatched with great conviction from the Real Kings (South Africa) striker.
A major shock here in Maseru as the minnows from Lesotho take a dramatic lead.
Lesotho 134 - Nigeria 35, current FIFA rankings. Anything but a Super Eagles win would be a major, major surprise.
Neither side yet to settle with Nigeria enjoying the better of early possession. Super Eagles players still coming to terms with the artificial surface.
A late Jane Thabantso goal was good enough for the Crocodiles to grab a point against Sierra Leone on Wednesday night in their opening Group L clash.
Erratic start to the game with neither side able to retain any long spell of possession.
The Setsoto Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium and holds 20.000 but a very poor crowd for the visit of the Super Eagles tonight. Not a fan of the astro-turf either.
Bordeaux player Samuel Kalu who was the hero on Wednesday night grabbing the winner is in Benin is on the bench this evening in Lesotho.
Nigeria start the action in Maseru.
Lesotho in their white kit with a blue and green stripe, blue trim on the arm. Very sparse crowd at the Maseru stadium. Super Eagles in their (allegded unlucky) dark green kit
Teams are on the pitch at Maseru as the national anthems sound.
Three draws and two defeats for Lesotho in their past 5 games. Two wins and two draws plus one defeat for Nigeria.
What's the weather like this evening in Maseru for the game I hear you all ask ! Sunny conditions and a warm 26C for kick-off.
Lesotho will wear their home green kit tonight forcing Super Eagles to wear a change kit
Maintaining the fine tradition of African football with animal based nicknames, the Lesotho national side are called the Likuena (Crocodiles).
Bloemfontein Celtic striker Sera Motebang the man the Nigeria defenders will need to watch tonight. The 24-year-old has already bagged 7 goals for the national side in 24 games.
With Benin's earlier win over Sierra Leone, here is how Group L is shaping up. Super Eagles and Benin are the favourites to progress.
Nigeria's XI for the game has been confirmed. Victor Osimhen will lead the line having found the net twice in his last three appearances for the Super Eagles. Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze will provide the ammo for the Lille forward while Alex Iwobi also starts.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles have conceded in seven of their last eight games overall. Only Tunisia have failed to breach Gernot Rohr's defence in that period.
Lesotho may not have the star power the Super Eagles have traditionally enjoyed but they are hard to break down. The Crocodiles have drawn each of their last four and have not conceded more than once during that run.
Wherever you are in the world, if you fancy tuning in for this one you can find out here how and where to watch the game.
Lesotho and Nigeria have faced each other twice previously, during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, with the Super Eagles winning both games without conceding (1-0 in Maseru and 2-0 in Warri).
Nigeria lead Group L in AFCON 2021 qualifying after one round of fixtures having pipped Benin 2-1 while Lesotho lie in second as the Crocodiles seek their first-ever qualification for a Cup of Nations finals.
Hello and welcome to AS English's live coverage of the AFCON 2021 qualifying match between Lesotho and Nigeria from the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru.