How Ezenwa’s heroics won Nigeria a place in WAFU Cup group stage

It was another 5 star performance for Super Eagles goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa as he guided the Super Eagles to a 2-0 win over Sierra Leone on Monday in Ghana.

The obviously fatigued Super Eagles arrived in Ghana late after the players were allowed to feature for their League Clubs on Saturday and after taking time to shake off their lethargy, scored two late goals to win it.

Ezenwa on his part won the Man of the Match award for his resourcefulness all game long.

The Sierra Leonians started the game asking questions of the Nigerian defence, but were denied by the heroics of Ezenwa.

As early as the 3rd minute Donald Wellington went behind the Nigerian defence but failed to beat Ezenwa in a one-on-one situation.

It was Wellington again in the 10th minute when he connected a low freekick but Ezenwa stopped his effort from going in.

In the 15th minute Nathaniel Vula broke through the Eagles defence, but Ezenwa again saved from close range.

Ezenwa was called to action again in the 32nd minute when a long range effort from Lahai Coker was well saved by the shot stopper.

With the first half ending 0-0, the Sierra Leonians did not stop as five minutes into the restart it was Donald Wellington again who should have put his side in the lead but he shot wide.

Amadu Barrie would curse himself for not scoring in the 76th minute when he broke through on goal and had time to pick his spot but shot into the hands of Ezenwa.

The Eagles did not just defend for all 90 minutes as their first attempt at scoring came in the 22nd minute when Samuel Mathias shot wide from just outside the penalty area.

Nigeria went close again in the 55th minute when Chima Akas found himself in the box from the left wing but hit the side netting.

It was Chima Akas again in the 61st minute when he drove into the box but the goalkeeper parried the ball to safety.

Rabiu Ali was called into play in the 81st minute when his shot from just outside the penalty area was saved by the goalkeeper.

But When Osas Okoro had a chance with a free kick, he made sure as it went past the wall and goalkeeper for the opening goal in the 84th minute.

Three minutes later and it was Eneji Otekpa that made victory doubly sure for Nigeria.

Nigeria now qualify for the group stage and will next play Ghana on Thursday in a group that also has Mali and Guinea and will thank Ikechukwu Ezenwa for not failing when it all depended on him.

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