By Monica Iheakam
The Biblical rejected stone being the cornerstone, aptly describes Paul Onuachu as he saved the blushes of Super Eagles of Nigeria with his late action that earned Eagles a win against Squirrels of Benin Republic.
Onuachu was given a late call-up as replacement for Moses Simon who was stopped by his club from honouring the AFCON qualifiers invitation due to COVID-19 restrictions.
His late goal ended Benin’s unbeaten home run since 2013 with a 1-0 victory in their penultimate Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers yesterday.
A corner by Iwuala was met by Osimhen with Onuachu nodding the rebound home.
The defeat dealt a blow to the Squirrels’ qualification hopes as they now need to avoid defeat against third-placed Sierra Leone when they face each other on Tuesday.
Meanwhile the Super Eagles of Nigeria have qualified for the 2022 AFCON to be hosted by Cameroon.
The Eagles passage to Cameroon was confirmed even before the kick off of their match with the Squirrels of Benin Republic after Sierra Leone played a barren draw with Lesotho.
After their encounter with Benin, the Super Eagles will then square off against Lesotho in their final Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos. The Super Eagles finished third at the last edition of the continental tournament in Egypt, behind winners Algeria and Senegal.
Their best performances at the biennial competition were in 1980, 1994 and 2013, where they won the highly coveted trophy.
The West African side remains the team with the most bronze medal at the tournament, winning it eight times.
They will hope to clinch their fourth title at the 2022 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.