A second-half brace from Randers FC’s Al-Hadji Kamara helped the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone earn a 4-4 draw against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
In the end, it was a game of two halves. The first for Nigeria and the second for Sierra Leone.
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr started with an attacking side, fielding a front three (Alex Iwobi, Victor Osimhen, and Samuel Chukwueze) that have scored four goals combined in the first two matches of the qualifiers while reverting back to the famed ‘Oyinbo Wall’ of William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun at the back.
Nigeria didn’t take long to open the scoring as a miscue from the Sierra Leone defense gifted Iwobi a chance in the fifth minute as he shot from close range to give the Super Eagles the lead.
Osimhen, who missed the last two friendly games against Algeria and Tunisia, didn’t take long to add to Nigeria’s tally as he slotted home a beautiful cross from FC Porto’s left-back Zaidu Sanusi. It was his fourth goal of the AFCON qualifiers.
With Nigeria threatening to run riot, Iwobi added to the woes of Sierra Leonians, scoring a belter of a shot for 30 yards to make it three for Nigeria.
Moments later, Chukwueze unleashed his magic wand on the Sierra Leone defence, swiveling his way down the left flank to score Nigeria’s fourth.
It seemed done and dusted. Finished. Nigeria were cruising. However, in games like this, all you need is a lifeline.
Sierra Leone got one in the 41st minute as Kwame Quee started the come back for them when he pulled one back for the side ranked 120th in the world.
The second half started on a bright note for Nigeria, as Osimhen came close to making it five after narrowly missing a header from an Ahmed Musa’s freekick.
It was pretty end-to-end stuff under the floodlights of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium until Rohr replaced Kelechi Iheanacho for Musa while Balogun was taken off for Semi Ajayi. The defence capitulated.
Kamara headed in a cross to halve the deficit, and eight minutes later, Mustafa Bundu scored the third. Nigeria were on the edge. Their worst fears were realized when Kamara completed the comeback.
Nigeria now have seven points after playing three matches. They will travel to Freetown to play the second leg at the Seika Stevens Stadium four days from today.