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

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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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