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2021 AFCON: Relieved Gernot Rohr Hails Squirrels of Benin

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Super Eagles Head Coach Gernot has showered adulation on Benin Republic after the Super Eagles escaped an early scare to triumph 2-1 on Matchday 1 of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers in Uyo. 

The Squirrels of Benin Republic seemed set to take the scalp off the 5 time AFCON champions when Stephan Sessegnon put the ball past Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi in just the third minute of the game.

All through the last AFCON, the Beninese side lost only a game – against eventual champions, Senegal – in the quarterfinals of the competition after eliminating Morocco in the Round of 16 en route qualifying from a group of death.

Wary of the defensive approach of the Squirrels, Super Eagles gaffer Rohr had hinted prior the game that the clash against Nigeria’s neighbours will be a different ball game citing their feat against Morocco as enough reason to dread the Francophone side.

Although Michel men laboured to keep the Eagles at bay, Ola Aina’s sleek move will meet resistance in the eighteen yard with seconds to the end  of the first 45 minutes as Victor Oshimen stepped up to restore parity.

Samuel Kalu who was absent from the team after their sojourn at Egypt proved his mettle with a brilliant solo goal in the second half. 

“We’re happy about this Victory,” an excited Rohr told Pressmen in a post match conference at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

“We knew already before the match that it will be very difficult because Benin has one of the best organization defensively and they made the quarterfinals also in the AFCON and we saw them eliminate Morocco. They have a very good team.”

Nigeria will continue camping in Uyo before jetting out of the country for their next clash against Lesotho at the Setsoto Stadium in Marusa. 

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