Moses Simon Emerges MOTM as Nigeria Clinches Last-Minute AFCON Round of 16 Spot

Moses Simon Emerges MOTM as Nigeria Clinches Last-Minute AFCON Round of 16 Spot

The air crackled with anticipation at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Ivory Coast as Nigeria faced off against Guinea-Bissau in a crucial clash for the final Group A qualifying spot in the 2023 AFCON.Moses Simon Emerges MOTM as Nigeria Clinches Last-Minute AFCON Round of 16 Spot

Jose Peseiro’s Super Eagles, buoyed by their stunning penalty-powered victory over host Ivory Coast, carried the weight of expectation on their shoulders, Footballrover reports.

Guinea-Bissau, however, were far from pushovers.

The Wild Dogs, roared on by their passionate crowd, started brightly, testing Stanley Nwabali with a long-range effort from Nito.

The Super Eagles, seeking a point to secure qualification, struggled to assert dominance in the early minutes, with Guinea-Bissau dictating the tempo.

The turning point arrived in the 37th minute. Moses Simon, electrifying on the wing as usual, whipped in a teasing cross that took a wicked deflection off a defender and nestled into the back of the net.

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The fortuitous goal broke the deadlock and injected a much-needed dose of energy into the Nigerian camp.

Napoli Star Victor Osimhen almost doubled the lead before halftime, but his connection to another pinpoint Simon cross was just off target.Osimhen jumps high in AFCON

The second half saw Nigeria press for a decisive second goal, with Simon again at the heart of the action.

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He narrowly missed a chance to put the game to bed after a mazy run; his attempt was parried by the alert Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper.

Osimhen thought he had finally sealed the deal in the 62nd minute, but his celebrations were cut short by the VAR, ruling him offside.

Despite the missed opportunities, Nigeria held firm, defending resolutely and ultimately claiming the crucial 1-0 victory.Moses Simon Emerges MOTM as Nigeria Clinches Last-Minute AFCON Round of 16 Spot

The post-match celebrations were reserved, tinged with relief rather than euphoria.

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However, one man did receive universal acclaim: Moses Simon.

His tireless running, dazzling skill, and influential role in the winning goal saw him deservedly crowned the Total Energies AFCON 2023 Man of the Match.

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