Sierra Leone pull off amazing comeback from 4-0 down
Nigeria-Sierra Leone: live
Many thanks for your company this evening for a dramatic CAN 2022 qualifier where the Super Eagles let a 4-0 lead slip as Sierra Leone dug deep and pulled off an incredible comeback to tie the game 4-4. We'll be back with the next chapter in this Group L qualifying campaign with the return game next Tuesday from Freetown.
Italian fans already posting concern about the Osimhen injury. I imagine the Nigeria medical team will make an official announcement on the situation once tests have been conducted.
I'm still confident that the Super Eagles will top the group and seal a place at the AFCON. Having said that, the nature of letting this 4-0 lead slip will not be easily forgotten by the demaning supporters.
Both side meet again next week with Freetown the setting for the return Group L fixture. Another evening kick-off (1700) for the game on Tuesday.
The social media reaction impact is certainly stronger from the Nigerian angle with frustrated fans still coming to terms with the 4-4 result. There was one point in the first half, where I recall observing Nigeria's total domination and that my pre-game prediction of 3-0 looked cautious. Having said that, it's games like tonight's 90 minutes at the Ogbe Stadium that remind us all why we love football!
I'd like to bring you more reaction from Sierra Leone official channels but sadly the Federation does have a Twitter account (a new one) but has not been commenting on the game. This game was not all about Nigeria's capitulation but every bit about how the side in blue refused to throw in the towel.
Nigeria fans' sentiments summed up in a tweet.
Seven goals against in three games will also be a worry for Super Eagles fans
This is how the Group L table looks tonight. Benin face Lesotho on Saturday at 1700.
Nigeria fans already showing their anger and frustration after letting a 4-0 lead slip with many calling the performance a 'disgrace' and calling for the federation to sack coach Gernot Rohr. The German has always held an uneasy relationship with local fans.
The result aside, the injury to striker Victor Osimhen is a major concern, not just for Super Eagles supporters fans but also for Napoli tifosi with everything pointing to a severe wrist problem for the young striker.
A night that will be long celebrated in Sierra Leone footballing history and a game Nigeria will be anxious to put behind them.
FT : All over in Benin City. What an amazing fight back from the side ranked 120th in the FIFA rankings.
Last minute of the game ..Iheanacho takes and just sees the ball drift over the crossbar.
Sierra Leone sit deep now as Nigeria launch late attacks as the home side win a very dangerous free-kick.
The heat will be on the German boss after this game with many sectors of the Nigerian press unlikely to take this result well. The way the Super Eagles took their foot after the gas is rather a concern for the manager.
Sierra Leone sitting deep as Nigeria push with 4 minutes of time to be added.
Gernot Rohr looks on in disbelief as Iheanacho forces a fine stop from Kamara.
Amazing comeback here in Benin City with less than three minutes remaining.
Sub Kamara finds the next again
Incredible .... Sierra Leone make it 4 !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nigeria, it has to be said, did take their foot after the gas after their fourth goal believing the game was done & dusted.
Who gave Sierra Leone a prayer after 30 minutes? Totally outclassed and 4-0 down ....
High drama here in Benin City with just over 8 minutes remaining .... Can the Leone Stars find the target again and achieve, what would be one of the biggest upsets in African football.
Stunning finish from Bundu as the sub finds the corner. Game on !!!!!
Changes for Nigeria / Chidera Ejuke(in) - Samuel Chukwueze(out)
An evening mist hanging over the Ogbe Stadium and the early joy of the first thirty minutes with 4 goals now very much tempered by the worrying injury sustained to Osimhen.
Terrible news for the striker. Difficult to say what the nature of the injury is but certainly high levels of concern on the faces of the Nigeria medical team. The player seemed to fall badly with the wrist taking the impact of his fall.
A stretcher to be called
Bad news for Nigeria as Osimhen looks to have a problem with his wrist. The striker lost his footing and seemed to fall akwardly.
Osman Kakay(in) - Mustapha Dumbuya(out) another swap for the men in blue
Osimhen breaks into the area but a late challenge from Bangura distracts the striker as Kamara gathers.
More changes for the visitors: Mustapha Bundu(in) - Kwame Quee(out) (Sierra Leone)
Benin and Lesotho face each other tomorrow also in Group L with Les Écureuils from Benin favourites in that clash.
Water break time here in Edo State. Just over 20' remain but the game as a contest was done & dusted after half an hour.
Iwobi almost collides with the ball with tiredness and the heat just seeing a dip in tempo here in Benin City.
Semi Ajayi(in) - Leon Balogun(out) (Nigeria)
Nigeria subs: Iheanacho for Musa
The pace and high tempo of the first have has ebbed a little. Rohr calls to his players on the Nigeria bench to warm up with changes imminent for the Super Eagles.
A. Kamara on/ off Sesay ... second change for the Leone Stars
Changes for the guests: Strasser on / J.Kamara off
Nigeria corner is whacked away again by the side in blue. The grass (length of) and dry pitch are really not conducive to fine play and neat passing with players having to take an extra touch just to control the ball.
This Nigeria team could beat Bayern Munich jokes one Super Eagles fan on social media !!!! Not sure about that but it certainly seems that Gernot Rohr's side are a shoe in for a place in Cameroon at the delayed 2022 CAN.
Sierra Leone beak again but once again the final delivery is poor and overhit for Quee.
Kamara fouled as Sierra Leone earn a dangerous free-kick. The ball is easily dealt with by the men in green and white.
Two schoolboy errors from the Sierra Leone defenders as they give the ball away cheaply. The ball is headed onto the post by Victor Osimhen. The Napoli striker already has bagged 4 goals in the three Group L matches to date.
Nigeria get us underway
The players are are on the field with the second 45 just seconds away.
What can we expect in the second half? Plenty of substitute's from Gernot Rohr..... Nigeria getting back into the gear that saw them outclass Sierra Leone? Or the Super Eagles sit back knowing that the win is as good as in the bag?
Chukwueze's goal very much the pick of the bunch from the Nigeria x four first half strikes.
HT at the Ogbe Stadium in Benin City. Nigeria very much on top but just let intensity slip at the end of the half.
Nigeria have very much taken their foot off the accelerator and are now allowing the guests to start to move the ball around.
Late corner for the men in blue as they look to strike again. Better now for the visitors as the ball is headed over.
Last minute of the half and it's the Villarreal man who takes the kick. Sierra Leone clear and immediately give possession back to the home side. 4 minutes of time to be added.
Chukwueze fouled and Kevin Wright carded for the effort.
Better from the visitors with Nigeria sleeping at the back to let the 'Leone Star' pop up to fire home.
In the current FIFA rankings, Super Eagles are listed at 29 with Sierra Leone at 129th ....this is the gulf in class that we see tonight.
Well worked from Kai Kamara but the threaded ball catches a man in blue inches offside. Keister's men now just playing for national pride and keep the scoreline respectable.
Zaidu Sanusi's cross just too high for Osimhen as the clock ticks down here in Benin City. A great chance now for Rohr to rotate and try new ideas and players for the second half. A long time since I've seen such a one sided game !
Captain Bangura carded for handball. First booking of the evening.
So much for my 3-0 prediction ! This could be a cricket score with Nigeria on fire here in Benin City.
Possession after 26': Nigeria 71% - 29% Sierra Leone
So, just as Sierra Leone were presented with their best chance of the night, Nigeria break and find the next with the next passage of play.
Water break time in Benin City.
Poor defending as the Napoli man steals in at the back post to fire past Kamara.
Chance for the visitors as the ball falls to Kamara who fires over.
Buya Turay looks like Sierra Leone's threat tonight with Kai Kamara yet to get involved in the action.
A very placid evening so far for Maduka Okoye in the Nigeria goal with the keeper yet to be called into action. Osimhen breaks and looks for Chukwueze but the ball is misguided and Sierra Leone clear
John Kamara will need to leave the pitch with blood streaming from the 32-year-old's face.
Osimhen looking full of energy tonight, with the Napoli striker chasing every ball as Aribo is fouled.
Not only does the playing surface here look very dry, but the grass at the Ogbe Stadium looks extremely long. Nigeria dealing with the surface much better as Sierra Leone unable to retain possession.
Nigeria and Sierra Leone have met on 14 occasions with just 2 wins for the 'Leone Stars', Nigeria have won nine games and three have ended in draws.
So, an uphill task for John Keister's men just got that bit harder with the early goal for the home side. An ideal start for Gernot Rohr with areas of the Nigerian press questioning the German.
Iwobi firing the ball right footed with the ball going in off the post. What a start for Rohr's men.
Sierra Leone looking for a place in what would be their third CAN competition.
All the early possession for the men in green and white.
A very dry looking surface here at the Ogbe Stadium with the ball bobbling along the playing surface.
Off we go in Benin City
Kai Kamara (No. 10) and FC Zurich's Banguru the players to watch out for in the Sierra Leone side.
Sierra Leone with black numbers on a dark blue shirt !!!! great way to identify the 'Leone Stars' players .....
Time for the national anthems of both participating nations.
Finally.... the sides take to the pitch, Sierra Leone in all blue with Nigeria set to wear their traditional green and white.
Kick off in theory is just three minutes away but at this point no players or officials are on the pitch so, it looks like our start will be delayed.
There are a handful of fans in the Ogbe Stadium tonight, possibly 100/200 here at the 12,000 capacity ground.
The other two Group L sides Benin and Lesotho face each other tomorrow and the next game for Nigeria is a trip to Freetown to face Sierra Leone away.
The Super Eagles will be sporting their new Nike kit tonight. Not as eye catching as the famous Russia 2018 shirt but still a smart looking shirt !
Today's match weather in Benin City.
It's a hot and sticky evening in the cvapital of Edo State with a current temperature of 33C/91F with no rain forecast during the action.
15 minutes ahead of kick-off in Benin City. Here's the AS English prediction for today's match:
Nigeria 3-0 Sierra Leone.
We feel the Super Eagles will be too strong for John Keister's side and the home side to bag all three points.
Nigeria with a hugely threatening attacking line-up today with Osimhen,Chukwueze, Musa and Aribo all likely to be among the goals.
Sierra Leone starting XI: Mohamed Kamara, Umaru Bangura, Kevin Wright, Yeami Dunia, Alie Sesay, Mustapha Bangura, John Kamara, Mohamed Medo Kamara, Buya Turay, Kei Kamara, Quame Quee,
Kenyan referee Peter Waweru Kamaku will officiate today's Nigeria and Sierra Leone clash.
The Ogbe stadium, the setting for this evening's action
Kai Kamara has subsequently removed the Tweet in question!
Tonight's build-up for the visitors has been overshadowed by the social media post from veteran striker Kai Kamara after he complained about the condition of the Benin City hotel. The Sierra Leone FA have apologised to the hosts and confirmed that they will open disciplinary procedures over the strikers comments.
Not connected to tonight's game but a big story for African football as Mo Salah tests positive for Covid-19
Possible Sierra Leone starting XI: : Kamara; Bangura, Sesay, Kakay, Wright; Koroma, Kamara, Strasser; Quee, Kamara, Kei Kamara.
Possible Nigeria starting XI: Okoye, Awaziem, Aina, Balogun, Troost-Ekong, Iwobi, Aribo, Etebo, Chukwueze, Ejuke, Osimhen
Nigeria are currently ranked 29th in the FIFA global rankings are solid favourites to maintain their 100% group record against the 120th ranked Sierra Leone and anything other than a comfortable win for the Super Eagles would be a major upset.
This is the third game in CAN 2022 qualifying with the 'Super Eagles' topping Group L with two wins from two games and strong favourites to see off the 'Leone Stars' today.
International football is finally back in Africa with today's game originally scheduled for March of this year. As things stand though, there will be no fans at the Ogbe Stadium today as a health measure to prevent further coronavirus contraction.
Hello and a very warm welcome to our live coverage from Edo State as Nigeria welcome Sierre Leone with the game getting underway at 17:00 (CET).