Nigeria’s Super Eagles ended their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying campaign on an impressive note with Victor Osimhen scoring hat-trick in a 6-0 thriller against Sao Tome and Principe at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Sunday night.
The Super Eagles applied pressure from the beginning and played most of their football in advanced positions up the pitch.
Nigeria were awarded a couple of corners inside the first five minutes of the game but failed to make the most of their opportunities.
Nigeria continued to dominate play as the 10th minute rolled on and pinned Sao Tome back during the opening exchanges of the game.
With Sao Tome buckling under the pressure, Nigeria took the lead in the 13th minute as Osimhen scored his eighth goal of their qualifying campaign.
The game reached a tacky period around the 20th minute mark, with neither side progressing in the final third, but the Super Eagles managed to double their lead in the 27th minute as Ademola Lookman added his name to the scoresheet.
After a passing move on the edge of the Sao Tome area, Lookman made way inside the box before letting off a shot that beat the opposition goalkeeper at his near post.
Taiwo Awoniyi and Samuel Chukwueze completed the rout.
Reacting to the feat, Sports Development Minister John Owan Enoh, who was among the spectators at the stadium, congratulated the Nigerian team for rewarding the support of Nigerians with a good performance, while charging the team to bring home the AFCON trophy next year.
“On the behalf of all Nigerians, I congratulate the Super Eagles for making the country proud with such an incredible performance. While this wraps up our qualification gracefully, I want to charge the team to go out against all odds in Ivory Coast next year. We want the AFCON trophy to land in Nigeria and all hands will be on deck to make this happen.
“The ministry will work round the clock to ensure the team gets the best preparation possible, in our quest to bring glory to Nigeria. Our players have displayed commitment to the national colours and I hope that the renewed sense of patriotism remains in place to catalyze the team at the AFCON,” he stated.
The Super Eagles bagged 15 points from six games to secure top spot in Group A.
Lagos-born Victor Osimhen grabbed a hat trick to become Nigeria’s fourth all-time highest goalscorer with 20 goals.