Shanghai Shenhua of China striker, Odion Jude Ighalo has dedicated his opening goal for Nigeria’s 3-1 win in Friday’s last qualifier for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations to his wife, Sonia, whose birthday was a day before the game.
Footballive.ng gathered that Ighalo was excited to his his seventh goal of the qualifiers, which took him top of the highest scorers’ chart, but said it was more important for him to remember his wife in the midst of it all.
Indeed, the Super Eagles’ arrow head had dedicated Thursday to mark his wife’s happy day, even as it came at a point he was on national team assignment in preparation for the match at Stephen Keshi Stadium.
Heading into the match, Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr had spoken of his desire to see Ighalo emerged top scorer in the qualifiers, and it was small wonder that the star got the nod to go for penalty won by Wilfred Ndidi midway through the first half, and he calmly converted it.
Dramatically, Ighalo could have got a first half brace, but his well struck effort close to the whistle for interval came off the woodwork, and the contending sides went into the break level at 1-1, much to the dismay of the small number of spectators that turned up for the game.
Sadly, another of Rohr’s favourites, Anorthosis Famagusta of Cyprus goalkeeper, Francis Odinaka Uzoho was found wanting late in the first half, as his error gave way to Rody Melanie to equalize for the visitors.
However, Galatasarary of Turkey striker, Henry Onyekuru soon justified his inclusion in the Eagles’ starting line-up, as he made the best of Jamiu Collins’ inch perfect cross to put Nigeria 2-1 up in the 60th minute.
As the Eagles struggled to keep a grip on the game, Rohr sent on in-form Rotherham United of England defender-turned-midfielder, Semi Ajayi on for Alex Iwobi, who appeared off colour in another inconsistent outing.
Ajayi went on few minutes after Oghenekaro Etebo had been replaced by Paul Onuachu, but the Eagles’ midfield collapse right after, leaving the Libyans with more opportunities to put pressure on the defence.
Seychelles then replaced their goal getter with Darel Damoo, while the opening scorer, Ighalo went off for Moses Simon in the 85th minute, with the Levante of Spain winger promtply making his presence count by adding Nigeria’s third of the evening, off another Collins’ assist.