Nigeria 3-0 Lesotho, result, goals summary: AFCON qualifiers
Nigeria vs Lethoso live: AFCON qualifier
Super Eagles secure summit spot
With Benin and Sierra Leone still to play their final game later this evening, Nigeria have qualified in style. (h/t SofaScore)
Nigeria 3-0 Lethoso: match summary
It was a very comfortable evening's work for the Super Eagles who ended their qualifying campaign for the Africa Cup of Nations with a 3-0 triumph over Group L's bottom side, Lethoso.
A goal from Man of the Match, and constant danger, Victor Osimhen in the first half, was added to by Oghenekaro Etebo and Paul Onuachu in the second to take Nigeria onto 14 points from their six games.
Gernot Rohr was delighted to be able to have Everton dangerman Alex Iwobi in from the start - he had been a doubt until a late negative covid-19 test came through - and along with Iheanacho and their Napoli striker caused their visitors all sorts of problems. In fact, the only surprise was that it took 23 minutes for one of them to bag the opener.
The whole team played their part - even Uzoho needed to have his wits about him on a few occasions - but a special mention to both Wilfred Ndidi and OghenekaroEtebo who held together the midfield brilliantly and kept things ticking along.
We may have to wait until January 2022 to see how the AFCON finals unfold, but fans of the Super Eagles will be expecting an excellent showing from their heroes.
Peep, peep, peeeeep! Indeed it is. The referee blows for full time and Nigeria end their campaign with a win.
A late opportunity for Lethoso to make their own mark on this game, a free kick wide of penalty area on the left.
...but it's played straight out of the park. And that could be that.
As you could probably guess from following my chat, the Napoli striker was very much involved with everything that was good going forward and takes the MOTM award.
We'll have four added minutes
It's turned into a bit of a procession now for Nigeria, who are picking out each other with relative ease and not pushing too hard for a fourth.
The trumpeting in the stands has been constant since the off and that noise has been joined by a few 'olés' when one of the home stars tries a trick or dribble.
Musa is on for Iheanacho and Anayo for Chukwueze
Goooooaaaaaaaaallll!!! Onuachu hasn't been on the field long but he's made his mark.
Fed the ball inside the penalty box to the right, he guides it home to the far side of the goal leaving the keeper with no chance. Tidy finish.
A busy Lethoso box makes things difficult for the visitors from a corner but the threat only ends as Etebo strikes the woodwork from just outside the area.
With ten still to play, it only feels as though the hosts will add to their total, with very little coming the other way.
Iwobi will not be reaching the milestone we told you about during our build-up. He's off and replaced by Onyekuru.
Osimhen also leaving, as Onuachu comes on.
NI million for MOTM
Did you know that Nigeria Breweries PLC, partners of the Nigeria Football Federation, is laying on line the sum of NI million (One Million Naira) for the Man-of-the-Match in today’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between the Super Eagles and the Crocodiles of Lesotho.
CHANCE! Another few minutes pass and another opportunity created by the host team.
With Lethoso caught a little further upfield, Osimhen is set free down the middle left but it's Moerane that comes out on top once again.
SAVE! Moerane having to put in a shift today (not for the first time, grant you) and does well to parry a strong hit from distance by Ebuehi which came through a number of players.
Osimhen (who else?!) is there to collect the rebound but the offside flag goes up for him.
CHANCE! Osimhen is clearly enjoying himself today and latches onto a ball over the top down the inside right channel.
He nudges it ahead of him - and the chasing defender - with his head before swinging a right leg. Well wide of the far post and out for a goal kick.
Moerane is down injured and there's a stoppage in play to let him get some treatment.
It all came from a delicious free-kick delivery from deep which had bodies throwing themselves at to clear. Seemed he collided with a defender.
Another chance for Nigeria. A little shake of the boot by Iheanacho who lays it off to Iwobi and his cross finds their reliable number nine.
Enough blue shirts to crowd him out this time.
Collins is coming on for the hosts, which means Sanusi will jog off.
Chukwueze next to try his luck after some very neat play but the shot is just over.
If the Super Eagles keep this up we could be in for quite a few more changes to the scoreboard.
Gooooooaaaaaaaaaaallllll!!! Etebo doubles the lead
A dangerous looking ball into the penalty box is held up well under pressure by Osimhen and laid off to the midfielder just behind him.
The Galatasaray man doesn't get the cleanest of strikes away but it's enough to find the gap to the left of the keeper.
Corner swung in from the left finds its way back into the danger zone but Moerane saves well.
Nigeria immediately back into their stride as Osimhen chases onto a long diagonal from the right.
Pushed wide by the covering defender, the striker does well to win a corner.
We're back underway...
As we await the players to emerge for the second half, it's worth noting that there have been a number of complaints about the decision to allow both sides wear rather dark colours (green and blue).
Hopefully I'll not get too mixed up in the second half...which is coming up right now.
Well, that 45 has been pretty much on script. Nigerla have had the bulk of possession (two-thirds of it to be precise) and have created the more dangerous attacks (33-22).
Despite that, the scoreline has the hosts just one to the good, so everything still to play for* in the second half.
(*actually very little more than pride and records to play for)
Peeeeep! The referee brings the first half to an end.
Nice interplay between Osimhen on the right and Iheanacho just inside him, but the latter just miscontrols at the vital second and the ball runs out for a goal kick.
The Leicester and Napoli lads have been a real handful for the Lethoso defence, just as they often are for those in the Premier League and Serie A.
Cinderella Man is one of those fortunate enough to be here at the game and has shared with you some images.
Nigeria swap their passing game for a more direct approach and it almost pays dividends before Moerane flies off his line to beat everyone to the delivery...although it took him a couple of attempts.
Lethoso move forward again with Toloane but Uzoho is quick to the danger and collects just inside his 18-yard box.
The keeper takes no time to roll it out and the Super Eagles are straight up the other end almost fashioning a chance of their own. A crowd of blue shirts close off the space and the danger passes.
Group L: as it stands
With the goal advantage, this is how the table (h/t SofaScore) would look come the final whistle. Plenty time still for that to change, of course.
The goal certainly hasn't caused the visitors to pack things in. If anything the blue shirts are pushing on more and trying to make things happen.
Lethoso have the ball in Nigeria's net but the flag is up for offside.
A decent dead-ball effort from just outside the area forces Uzoho to parry away, but he does so straight into the supporting attacker who knocks it home.
It was the right decision by the assistant, but there wasn't much in it. A reminder to the Super Eagles that they can't take this game too lightly.
Goooooooaaaaaaaallll!!! Osimhen has been edging closer to getting the opener and it's the Napoli man who is there with a nick over the keeper.
Very nice finish!
CHANCE!! Chukwueze gets the ball into Osimhen who just can't squeeze himself into enough space between two covering defenders and the keeper who smothers.
Rare chance here for Lethoso to create something as Nkoto gets to a deep cross from the right. His downward header is tidied up easily enough and normal service is resumed.
Following that move we've had a knock to the Lethoso stopper and a little injury time that should be added on later.
Nigeria have the ball in the net but immediately the flag goes up against Osimhen.
A lovely move led to the striker being played in by Iheanacho and he finished cooly under the onrushing keeper. It won't count though.
A bit of a lull in proceedings after that early burst of activity. The Super Eagles appear relatively content knocking the ball around...oh wait!
It's worth noting that Lesotho, who haven’t recorded any victories in any competition since 2019, have never qualified for the final stage of an Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
Another year passes them by, but they have a chance here to showcase their skills.
CLOSE! Iwobi with a clean strike from distance almost slides in at the far post.
Moerane scampered across his line to make sure it was drifting wide.
The visitors have a chance to give their defence a breather as they head forward but the ball is won back quickly and the green shirts are back in control.
JUST WIDE! Osimhen shows another example of the Eagles going for it in this game. Collecting the ball on the edge of the area he has a go but it flies just over the bar.
Some expected early control from the hosts and from that possession they craft a well worked effort at goal.
Moerane does well to punch away the strike and the defenders do the rest to clear any further danger.
OK, we're almost ready to get going here at the Teslim Balogun...
Did you know that if Alex Iwobi scores in this game he will be only the third Nigerian midfielder to score ten or more goals for the national side
His uncle JJ has the most of the other two with 14.
Three draws is all tonight's visitors have managed thus far in the group. But that element of stubborness and solidity is what has been considered their best chance of causing an upset.
They may have only scored three goals in five games, but to have only conceded six is not bad going. How that could change tonight if the Eagles soar.
Hopefully they will go all out tomorrow and win convincingly to reassure Nigerians that Super Eagles are a team to beat.
Winning is important but they have to play cohesively, the players need to understand one another.
Nigeria starting XI
Uzoho, Ebuehi, Balogun, Troost-Ekong, Sanusi, Ndidi, Etebo, Iheanacho, Chukwueze, Osimhen, Iwobi
Team news is coming in. First up the home side...
Governor visit ahead of final game
Earlier today, the Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, welcomed the Nigerian squad to the Teslim Balogun Stadium. The governor took to Twitter:
"I am excited as for the first time in 20 years, we witness the homecoming of our dear Super Eagles as they play their AFCON qualifier at our state soccer home ground, the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Sport is an important part of our THEMES agenda for Lagos."
He also pointed to the fact that most fans would not be able to get to the stadium to see their heroes.
"As you watch the match in your homes or as a guest at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, please cheer on the #SuperEaglesHomecoming as we take sports in Lagos to the next level."
Alex feeling the love
Here is Iwobi himself sharing how much he has appreciated the support from the medical teams and the fans. Another three points targeted!
...meaning it's positive!! Yes, the news is that Alex Iwobi has been cleared to play in tonight's game.
We'll shortly have the starting line-ups for you.
Nigeria's Rohr gives his thoughts
The great news for the Super Eagles fans was not available to the manager at the time of him speaking here (check out the next tweet for that) but Gernot said his players will look to give some pleasure to those fans that are allowed in to watch this game.
Listen for yourself...
Group L qualifying: how it stands
As the table shows (h/t SofaScore), Nigeria have already booked their place in next January’s rescheduled Africa Cup of Nations following their last-gasp single-goal victory over Benin on Saturday (they were actually already assured of their place following the draw between Lethoso and Sierra Leone earlier in the day, a result that also saw tonight’s opponents’ chances of qualifying disappear).
So, a dead-rubber, I hear you say. With the Super Eagle fans there is no such thing as a game without meaning and tonight we’ll see if they can put on a bit of a show at home with the pressure off.
A win tonight - and they are hot favourites to do so - would take them to 14 points, giving them a qualifying record of four wins, two draws and no defeats. Let’s see what they can do, while the visitors target a third-place finish.
Nigeria vs Lethoso live: welcome
Hello and let me wish you a very warm welcome to our live coverage of Nigeria against Lethoso.
The action gets underway at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos at 5pm local time, which is 6pm CEST and noon EDT. Our build-up starts now and we'll bring you all the latest team news, previews and comments, before heading into our live commentary.
We hope you'll stay with us till the final whistle...