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AFCON 2019: Nigeria Overcome Stubborn Burundi

Nigeria defeated Burundi 1-0 in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group B opener at the Alexandria Stadium on Sunday.

Nigeria defeated Burundi 1-0 in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group B opener at the Alexandria Stadium on Saturday.

Burundi dominated the opening stages of the game and they should have grabbed an early lead against Super Eagles in the first 15 minutes.

The Swallows fullback Fredric Nsabiyumva’s thunderous left-footed shot from close range was pushed over the crossbar by Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.

Akpeyi was the busier of the two keepers as he pulled off a brave low save to deny Burundi attacker Abdoul Razak Fiston from close range as Super Eagles survived a scare.

Nigeria’s best chance came in the 17th minute when Alex Iwobi’s powerful header hit the woodwork with Burundi keeper Jonathan Nahimana well-beaten.

The Swallows and Super Eagle continued to attack each other with the half-hour mark approaching, but they could not create clear-cut chances.

Paul Onuachu was able to create some space on the edge of the Burundi box in the 41st minute, but the Super Eagles striker placed his shot over the crossbar.

The two teams were locked at 0-0 during the half-time break.

The second half produced a much better affair as the sides came out of the break determined to find a goal.

The first chance of the half came from the boot of Onuachu again who fired off a powerful shot from 25 yards out that sailed agonizingly wide of the post, and would surely have been one of the goals of the season.

Only two minutes later and it was Burundi on the attack when Cedric Amissi rose above the defence from a right hand-cross but headed the ball just over the cross-bar.

In the 55th minute, Gael Duhayindavyi had the best opportunity of the game to score for Swallows when a beautiful pass from Sadio Berahino found him unmarked inside the box but Akpeyi was quick to deny him. a chance

Nigeria came closest to taking the lead in the 60th minute when Samuel Chukwueze struck the inside of the Burundi goal post. A cross came in from the right and Chukweuze stretched with every inch of himself to toe-poke the ball on the edge of the six-yard box, but he needed to be a toe taller as he only managed to touch the ball onto the upright.

Wifred Ndidi found himself one-on-one with the Swallows goalie again in the 66th minute after some great individual skill. He broke through the defence after dribbling a couple of players but he took too long to get his shot off and the Burundi defence managed to scramble back in time to clear the danger.

Eventually, in the 77th minute, some poor goalkeeping from Nahimana saw the game’s only goal. Ighalo received a back heel from outside the area before clinically lifting it past the keeper, who should have saved it easily.

The game ended 1-0 to Nigeria and they picked up a vital three points to top Group B standings before Guinea face Madagascar later tonight.

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