The Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in Monrovia witnessed an exhilarating clash on Sunday as the Super Eagles of Nigeria emerged victorious with a thrilling 3-2 win over Sierra Leone in their penultimate match in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series.
The Super Eagles Head Coach, Jose Peseiro, and the stand-in captain for Sunday’s outing, Kenneth Omeruo, expressed their thoughts on the hard-fought encounter, acknowledging the determination of their opponents and highlighting the resilience of their team.
Omeruo, in his post-match interview, praised the Sierra Leone team for their doggedness, especially as the match was pivotal to their qualification hopes.
Despite the challenges, Omeruo expressed his satisfaction with the Super Eagles’ ability to maintain their composure throughout the game.
“It was a difficult game; we knew they were going to fight because it is the only opportunity they have to qualify. But, I am happy we kept our head until the end, and we were able to win the game, so I am happy,” he said.
Emphasising the importance of concentration, Omeruo pinpointed a crucial moment in the match that could have altered the outcome.
He referred to a ‘clear’ penalty that was not awarded, which could have potentially decided the game.
“Concentration is very important. The game would have died in the first half. There was a very clear penalty that was not given. That would have killed the game. But, still, we must always stay focused until the end,” he explained.
Reflecting on the team’s overall performance, Omeruo said it was fulfilling to see the Eagles secure their ticket to next year’s AFCON tournament, even with a game to spare. “I am happy we could come back and secure the ticket,” he remarked,
Coach Peseiro, meanwhile, lauded his team’s qualification and commended their resilience in a hard-fought encounter. “Our team qualified. It was a hard match. Our team never gave up. We fought till the end. Sierra Leone did a fantastic job. In the first half, we created seven to eight clear opportunities and only scored twice [the same] in the second half. But, you have to win. It was a very good match,” he stated.
The Super Eagles’ dominance on the field was evident as they created numerous scoring chances and successfully converted them into goals.
Peseiro was full of praise for his players’ relentless efforts as he labelled them the best.
“Our team is the best in this group. I think we did a good job today against a good team. It was a very hard match. I am very happy with my players. Congratulations to my players because it is not easy.” he stated
Though Peseiro is excited about the Eagles’ victory, he acknowledged the challenging atmosphere and the uphill battle they faced when the scoreline was level at 2-2.
The Portuguese manager was happy the Eagles could dig deep for the winning goal that has taken them back to the number one position in Group A of the qualifiers.
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