Changchun Yatai striker, Odion Ighalo scored his first hat trick for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers on Saturday as the Eagles thrashed the Mediterranean Knights of Libya 4-0 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
After an victory away to Seychelles in the last qualifying match, Nigeria’s Super Eagles put their Nations Cup qualifying chance fully back on track with a 1-0 victory in their Group E third round match against the Mediterranean Knights of Libya at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
The Super Eagles got off to a perfect start when Odion Ighalo converted a penalty in the 4th minute after he was pulled down by the Libyan goal keeper. The Libyans fought back with better coordinated attacks while Nigeria’s lack of creativity continues to plague the Eagles who have relied on fast breaks, leveraging on the speed of Ahmed Musa and Samuel Kalu on the flanks.
Ndidi hit the upright from Etebo’s freekick while new leftback Jamilu Collins also hit the crossbar after being played through by Alex Iwobi. At the other end, Libya threatened with Uzoho’s point-blank save thwarting their best effort from a header.
The Eagles resumed the second half more purposefully with Iwobi assuming more influence on the game than he did in the opening 45 minutes. Manning the number ten positions very well. The Nigerians have actually created a couple of chances in the first half, but the players have not exactly been on the same frequency as Coach Gernot Rohr continues to experiment with formations in every game.
The second was a jolly ride for Nigeria, as Ighalo got his second goal in the game, after a lovely pass for Alex Iwobi to set up Ighalo, who rounded the goalkeeper, before coolly slotting the ball to the back of the net.
The 29 year old striker got his first hat trick for the national team after 24 games, with a weak pass from captain, Ahmed Musa, but the defence could not clear their lines as the ball fell to Ighalo who sloppily hit the ball against the keeper, but did not make any mistake from the rebound.
New boy, Samuel Kalu, got the fourth goal for Nigeria, after having a not so good performance. Onyekuru rounded the goalkeeper, then picking out Kalu, who scored a lovely curler from outside the box with his weak foot to score his first goal for Nigeria.
The Super Eagles are now second in the group behind leaders South Africa who thrashed Seychelles 6-0 earlier in the day.
The second leg of their double header will be played on Tuesday in Tunisia, as Libya can not play in their country because of the problem in the country.