By Amosu Adeboye, LAGOS
The Super Eagles ended their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers campaign on a winning note defeating Seychelles 3-1 at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba Delta State on Saturday.
Odion Ighalo scored to give Nigeria the lead three minutes after the half hour mark, but Melaine Rody drew Seychelles level eight minutes later.
Henry Onyekuru, making his first official start for the Super Eagles, restored Nigeria’s lead with a cool header seven minutes into the second half.
Moses Simon came off the substitutes bench five minute from time to seal the win with a fierce shot inside the box.
The win is Nigeria’s fourth in Group E and finished as group winners with 13 points from six games.
Ten minutes into the game Oghenekaro Etebo failed to take a chance from the edge of the box after Ighalo won a free-kick at the edge of the Seychelles penalty area.
In the 24th minute, Ighalo missed an opportunity to break the deadlock from six yards when he could not reach a cutback pass from Wilfred Ndidi.
The Pirates tested Francis Uzoho for the first time when he saved a free-kick from Carl Haal.
In the 33rd minute, Ndidi was fouled in the penalty area and the resultant spot kick was emphatically dispatched by Ighalo to take his tally to seven goals in the AFCON qualifiers.
Six minutes into the break, Etebo was denied by the goalkeeper who parried his free-kick at the edge of the box.
Seychelles restored parity against the run of play when Uzoho failed to deal with a free-kick leaving Melanie Rody with a simple finish.
Seven minutes into the half, Onyekuru made it 2-1 heading in Jamilu Collins’ delightful cross.
Coach Gernot Rohr made two substitutions, bringing on Paul Onuachu for Etebo and Semi Ajayi for Alex Iwobi.
He also brought on Simon for Ighalo who limped off injured in the win and two minutes later the Levante star fired in Super Eagles third goal in the 89th minute.
Next up for Nigeria is an international friendly against Egypt on Tuesday at the same Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba.