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By Olopade Sakiru

Nigerians were full of praises for the Super Eagles, as the team against all odds put up a scintillating performance in their group D first game in the on-going Afcon 2021 cup against the 7th time champion, the Pharaohs of Egypt.

Nigerians were skeptical about the Super Eagles before the tournament, largely due to the absence of star players such as Napoli youngster and clinical striker, Victor Osimhen, the old war horse, Odion Ighalo, Leon Balogun and Emmanuel Denis plying his trade with Watford but Augustine Eguavoen tutored Super Eagles stunned many people by spanking Pharaohs of Egypt that paraded the likes of Mohamed Salah by a lone goal.

Right from the blast of the whistle, the Super Eagles were all over the pitch, terrorising the Egyptians defense but poor marksmanship was the Eagles greatest undoing in the entertaining and arguably the best encounter that had all the trappings that usually characterise the nation’s cup so far in 2021 Afcon cup.

The enterprising Eagles continued pilling pressure on the Pharaohs until 30th minute, when Kelechi Iheanacho’s superb strike in the box found the top left corner of the net for the only goal of the encounter.

The Pharaohs could not penetrate the water-tight defence of the Eagles marshalled by the workaholic Troost Ekong with hardtackling Keneth Omeruo who was substituted for Semi Ajayi due to injury.

The overlapping defender, Ola Aina and Zaibu Sanusi provided good coverage for Nduka Okoye in goal for the Super Eagles who was virtually on holiday.

The dreaded Mohamed Salah was caged by the Eagles defence throughout the duration of the encounter.
While Joe Aribo and Wilfred Ndidi held forth in mid-field with Moses Simon being the thorn in the flesh of the Egyptian’s defence with his mesmerizing run from the flank.

In the second game of group D, between Sudan and Guinea Bissau which ended in a barren draw was so drab and left so much for desire.

What could have been the only goal of the tepid match was a late minute penalty saved by the Sudanese goalkeeper, Ali Abou Achrine who had no problem in parrying poorly taken penalty by Pepe while the follow up from Pigueti hit the crossbar.

The proceedings were dominated by the Guinea Bissau against the newly assembled Sudanese national team just three weeks before the tournament after their poor run at last month Arab cup where the country national team lost all the three games in that tournament.

The Guinea Bissau team would have themselves to blame for not winning the match they dominated by squandering many golden chances begging for convertion, including a penalty kick.
Earlier in the day, in group E game between the defending champion, Algeria and Sierra Leone with the third Afcon appearance ended in another barren draw.

It was a shocking result, considering the pedigree of the Algerians as the defending champion playing a draw with the lowly rated Leone stars that nobody gave any chance against the Algerians.

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