Goals by Brown Ideye, Kelechi Iheanacho and Odion Ighalo helped Nigeria beat Luxembourg in Tuesday’s international friendly in Luxembourg City. The victory makes it two in a row for coach Salisu Yusuf’s Super Eagles. The match was watched by a sparse crowd at the Stade Josy Barthel. The friendly is Nigeria’s first match with Luxembourg at full senior level.
In his first start since 2013, Brown Ideye opened scoring for the Nigerians before Kelechi Iheanacho scored his second goal in two games. Odion Ighalo came off the bench to nail the match.
Metz’s Vincent Thill’s late goal was consolation for a matchless Luxembourg side.
Coach Salisu Yusuf had made six changes to the side that narrowly defeated Mali in Rouen last week. He brought on Ideye in place of Ighalo, goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi for Carl Ikeme and Kenneth Omeruo for Leon Balogun.
Nigeria dominated the match with as much as 72 per cent of possession in the first half for which they were rewarded with Ideye’s goal on 36 minutes as the striker pounced early after goalkeeper Anthony Moris had punched out Ogenyi Onazi’s shot from outside the box. This came after key misses from Alex Iwobi and Aminu Umar who started in place of Moses Simon.
Both Iwobi and Umar made way early at the restart for Michael Babatunde and Simon as Luxembourg coach Luc Holtz also sent on Thill in place of Florian Bohnert. The Super Eagles consolidated their lead on 69 minutes when Simon turned provider for Iheanacho to convert a simple tap in after Moris had been left stranded.
Coach Yusuf made further changes bringing on Gbenga Arokoyo for William Troost-Ekong in defence, Wilfried Ndidi and Raheem Lawal for Ogenyi Onazi and Shehu Abdullahi in midfield. Luxembourg did not give up and would notch a goal on 90 minutes when Thill found the Nigerian defence open and shot past Akpeyi. The goal was received with wild celebrations on the field and in the bleacher stands.
Manchester City’s Iheanacho assisted for Ighalo who came off the bench to make it 3-1 in added-on time.
The friendly matches are preparatory for the 2018 World Cup qualification slated in June.
Nigeria XI: Daniel Akpeyi, Musa Muhammed, Elderson Echiejile, William Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo, Ogenyi Onazi, Aminu Umar, Shehu Abdullahi, Brown Ideye, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho.