Asaba – Former Golden Eaglets hotshot, Victor Osimhen, grabbed a hat-trick on Monday as Nigeria ‘s under-23 male national football team defeated their Libyan counterparts 4-0 on Monday in Asaba.
The match, which was palyed at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, is the second leg of a qualification round for the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The Nigerian side had lost 0-2 in the first leg game played on Wednesday in Tunisia, Libya’s home ground for now, and have now advanced to the qualifiers’ next round 4-2 aggregate.
The second leg game, which was watched by a handful of spectators, saw the Libyan team putting up a defensive play right from the first blast of the whistle.
However, the Nigerian team took total control of the midfield, as they mounted sustained attacks on the Libyan defence.
The Nigerian team’s efforts finally paid off in the 33rd minute of play, when Osimhen grabbed his first goal of the game from a rebound after a free-kick hit the upright.
On resumption of the second half, the Nigerian team went on the offensive in their search for more goals, forcing the Libyan defence to commit blunders.
Osimhen again rose to the occasion, as he poked in the second goal of the game in the 64th minute after the Libyan goalkeeper, Aymar Altihar, mistakenly parried a cross onto his path.
He later grabbed his hat-trick in the 75th minute following a goalmouth scrabble, after the Libyan defence failed to clear a Nigeria cross inside the penalty box.
Before the ovation which trailed the goal could die down, Nigeria’s Chidozie Okereke grabbed the fourth goal on the dot of 90 minutes for Nigeria.
At the post-match media conference, Nigeria’s coach Imama Amapakabo expressed joy and satisfaction with the win.
He said the Nigerian team played according to the game plan and deserved the victory.
“After the first leg in Tunisia which we lost, we learnt a lot because we saw their pattern of play.
“So, we came home and decided to work on how to break down their style of play.
“Today, we played according to our game plan, to get an early goal, and then follow it up with as many goals as possible,” he said.
Also speaking, Nigeria’s team captain, Azubuike Okechukwu, said the victory was well deserved.
“We came down here to win and we have achieved that. I must say we played our game, we were not under pressure.
“More so, the fans here today are so marvellous. They gave us so much support and we really appreciate it,” Okechukwu said.(NAN)