Sunday Faleye turned in a Moses Osas’ inswing corner eleven minutes from time to secure Nigeria their first win in a narrow 1-0 win over Libya on Friday in Tangiers in Group C.
The Super Eagles who fired blank in their opening fixture against Rwanda made their intentions known when full back James Daniel’s long throw was headed to the path of diminutive Anthony Okpotu who could not connect after just two minutes on the clock.
Libya, winners in 2014, surge on the break with Omar Aribi finding his way in the area before Super Eagles defender Emeka forced a corner.
Nigeria used their aerial presence but winning all second balls with right back James Daniel marauding on the wings with his teasing crosses which caused problems for the Libyan rear.
Salisu Yusuf’s charges looked very lively on the counter with winger Chukwudiebube Ogbugh driving through the left and shooting just wide off the Libya far post on 25 minutes.
Stephen Eze tried his luck from a distance twice in succession but on both occasions failed to threaten Libya keeper Mohamed Nashnush two minutes before the break.
Faleye sped past his marker on the left before crossing in the Libya area Ogbugh’s diving header on target forced a save from the Libya captain in goal ten minutes after the break.
Substitute Abdelsalam Alaqoub turned midway the Nigeria half and release the cracking right foot shot just wide of Eze goal on 65 minutes.
Unmarked Faleye broke the deadlock on 79 minutes turning in Osas’ corner from close range and secure Nigeria the much needed victory.
Substitute Ibrahim Mustapha missed a good opportunity to increase Nigeria’s lead three minutes after the goal when he ran through on goal but his cut back to Faleye was weak allowing a Libya defender to clear the ball to safety.
The match ended 1-0 in favor of Nigeria.
Rwanda vs Equatorial Guinea
Rwanda also recorded their first win of the season on Friday, midfielder Thierry Manzi’s glancing header on 66 minutes gifting Antoine Hey’s men a precious victory over Equatorial Guinea in Tangiers.
The victory places Amavubi at the top of Group C with Nigeria who earlier edged Libya 1-0 on four points each.
Rwanda’s Yannick Mukunzi played in Savio Nshuti who failed to hit the target when he faced the keeper Miguel Eyama after five minutes.
Eyama was again called into action midway through the first half coming out of his line to punch away Eric Rutanga’s left footed inswinger.
Equatorial Guinea’s Pedro Oba missed from close range after Rwanda goalie Eric Ndayishimiye fumbled a set piece to path but he hastily fired over on the half hour mark.
Amavubi started the second half with some neat exchanges in midfield and through the wings.
Midfielder Djihad Bizimana forced a save from Eyama four minutes after the restart collecting a pass out of the area and cuts in to his right before smashing a low drive which the keeper parried to keep the score level.
Pedro Oba caused the Rwandan defence problems and could have put Equatorial Guinea in front but failed to connect to cross when he was unmarked at the back post on 64 minutes.
He was made to pay for his missed opportunity when Manzi glanced in Bizimana’s corner from the left past the helpless Eyama to put the Amavubi in front.
Eyama pulled a magnificent acrobatic save on 83 minutes to deny substitute Muhadjiri Hakizimana from hitting Rwanda’s second.
The defeat knocks out Equatorial Guinea after they went down heavily against Libya in their first outing whiles Rwanda, Nigeria and Libya all have a chance of making the last eight.