2023 AFCON Qualifier: Guinea Bissau Overtakes Nigeria As Group A Leaders
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By Vitus Michael
Guinea Bissau on Wednesday regained the leadership of Group A of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON qualifying race.
The Guineans on Wednesday demoted Nigeria to second place after they pipped bottom placed Sao Tome and Principe 1-0 away in their penultimate match in the group.
It could be recalled that after defeating Nigeria in their matchday 3 in Abuja, Guinea tookover the leadership the group but the Jose Peseiro led Eagles rallied to beat them 1-0 in the return leg in March to retain their position
The only goal of the match which came in the 55th minute off the boot of Zinho Gango gave Guinea 10 points, one ahead of second placed Nigeria though the three-time champions, Nigeria are yet to play their 5th match
Substitute Zinho Gano scored the solitary goal for Guinea Bissau in a cagy match, but it was enough to take them closer to their ticket to next year’s extravaganza in Cote d’Ivoire.
The first half didn’t have many clear cut chances, with Mama Balde having several opportunities, but he couldn’t find a shot on target.
He had an effort from close range but couldn’t catch a clean shot while his best opportunity was with an overhead kick from inside the area, but it couldn’t land on target.
In the second half, the Djurtus stepped up their efforts and it paid off in the 55th minute when Gano, who had just come on as a substitute pounced on to the ball from close range after the Sao Tome keeper spilled a shot from Eucidalcio Gomes.
With the goal, Guinea Bissau were more comfortable and they commanded most of the possession, but couldn’t add a second goal. Gomes had some chances, but none were strong enough to change the score.
The Guinea Bissau side will play Sierra Leone in their final group match.
Nigeria, 2013 champions, will take on Sierra Leone on Sunday in Monrovia in their match number 5.
A victory for the Super Eagles against the Leone Stars on Sunday will secure the spot for Nigeria at the tournament to be played in Cote d’Ivoire in January.