By Victor Okoye
Abuja, – A cross-section of Abuja-based football enthusiasts say the Super Eagles were outstanding against the Mediterranean Knights of Libya on Saturday in an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier in Uyo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Odion Ighalo scored a hat-trick as the Super Eagles defeated Libya 4-0 in their third Group E game of the 2019 AFCON Qualifiers.
Samuel Kalu added the fourth goal when he curled a shot past the goalkeeper after he received a pass from Henry Onyekuru in the game at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.
The result meant Nigeria picked up their second win in the group and now have six points, a point behind table-toppers South Africa who had earlier defeated Seychelles 6-0 on Saturday.
The Super Eagles return to action when they travel to Tunisia to face Libya in the reverse fixture on Tuesday.
The football enthusiasts who spoke to NAN after the game said the Eagles gave a good account of themselves at the end of a very crucial match.
They however urged the Eagles not to relent in their efforts and maintain the same form which they displayed in Uyo when they face Libya in Tunisia.
Segun Agbede, a sports pundit, said even though the first half was a bit shaky as both teams struggled to assert themselves, the Super Eagles were classy and dominant in the second half.
“It was a brilliant second half performance from the Super Eagles today, and I must admit I didn’t see this scoreline coming.
“This result will resound around Africa and send a strong message to all and sundry that the Eagles mean business,” he said.
Audu Yisa, a banker, who said he could not fault the performance of the Eagles, added that the match was supposed to be“ a banana skin” for the team but surprisingly “ended like a roller-coaster”.
“It was an all-round performance by the Super Eagles today. Their exchange of passes were on point and the midfielders were so comfortable with the ball.
“Ighalo proved all his doubters wrong with a lovely hat-trick and Kalu’s goal was indeed a stunner as he justified his call-up to the national team.
“Surprisingly, nobody saw the huge scoreline coming, but it could have even be more scandalous for the Libyans if the Eagles had taken all the chances they created.
“We sincerely hope they can replicate the same performance when they play the second leg on Tuesday,”
Edafe Eseoghene, a businessman, singled out stand-in team captain Ahmed Musa for praise.
“Musa’s performance today clearly showed that his decision to go to Saudi Arabia to ply his trade has not in any way diminished the value and quality of his play.
“What a first-time pass for Ighalo, the man on fire to make his first hat-trick for Nigeria!
“It sure must have been a great fun and excitement for the fans in Uyo as the Super Eagles were indeed ‘super’ today,” he said.
Biola Kazeem, a medical doctor, said he was happy with the feat achieved by Ighalo.
He pointed out that the forward had finally picked up form after a long and tough stint in his national team career.
“Very happy for Ighalo. He has had a very hard time in the Super Eagles but he has continued to carry on.
“I am glad he got his reward today and now has a platform to really take off. A firing Ighalo is a big asset to us because he offers so much even without scoring,” Kazeem said.
NAN reports that Ighalo, with his performance on Saturday, became the 10th player to score a hat-trick for Nigeria.
Before Ighalo’s feat against Libya, Nnamdi Oduamadi was the last player to score a hat-trick for the Super Eagles.
Oduamadi had scored in Nigeria’s 6-1 triumph over Tahiti in a 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup