A last-minute goal by Paul Onuachu was all the Super Eagles needed yesterday to silence the Squirrels of Benin Republic in the African Nations Cup qualifier played in Porto Novo. The three-time champions booked their ticket to Cameroon 2022 AFCON even before the match kicked off in Porto Novo after Lesotho and Sierra Leone drew 0-0 in the other Group L tie in Maseru.
The encounter was heading to 0-0 draw when Onuachu scored with a header off a corner kick late into the game.
Nigeria joined Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia and Zimbabwe for the Cameroon 2022 party, leaving seven places to be filled.
While the result in Maseru guaranteed the Super Eagles a top-finish in the group, the Squirrels still have a mountain to climb. They have to beat Sierra Leone in their last match on Tuesday in Freetown on a day the Super Eagles will face Crocodile of Lesotho at the Teslim Baogun Stadium, Lagos.
The win in Porto Novo yesterday gave the Super Eagles 11 points, while Benin remain with seven, Sierra Leone four and Lesotho three.
The Super Eagles will return to Lagos today. The team had travelled by sea to the west African neighbours on Friday after players raised concerns about the poor road network linking the countries. The Crocodiles are also expected to hit Lagos later today.