By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Paul Onuachu came from the bench to give the Super Eagles of Nigeria a 1-0 victory against the Squirrel of Benin Republic on Saturday to reach the African Cup of Nations.
Onuachu, who replaced Kelechi Iheanacho on 71 minutes scored the all important goal on three minutes added time to the end of the match.
The Eagles had already qualified for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) earlier after Sierra Leone and Lesotho played goalless draw.
The victory ended Benin Republic’s eight years invincibility at home.
Earlier, Iheanacho’s shot on seven minutes of the game was parried by the Benin goalie for a corner for Nigeria and another good exchange between Iheanacho and Victor Osimhen was taken care of again by Benin on nine minutes.
On 25 minutes, Henry Onyekuru dazzled into the 18 yard box of the Benin side, but the ball was cleared out for a corner kick.
Osimhen had a chance to put Nigeria on the lead on 56 minutes, he beats the goalkeeper with his low shot, but it hit the upright. Zaidu blasted the rebound over the bar.
With 55 percent ball possession and 15 attempts on goal, with five shots on goal, the Super Eagles controlled the match.
The Eagles had 10 corner kicks as against three for Benin Republic.
The victory means that Super Eagles will end Group L as winner no matter the outcome of their last match in Lagos on Tuesday.
The Eagles now have 11 points, four ahead of Benin on seven points.
Benin must not lose to Sierra Leone on Tuesday if they must snatch the remaining AFCON ticket of the group.
The Leone Stars have four points and need to beat Benin at home on Tuesday to qualify for AFCON.