Paul Onuachu is Nigeria’s finest marksman in Europe, with 25 goals this season. Gernot Rohr left the world stunned when he considered the big attacker only good enough to be on the standby list.
After COVID-19 restrictions ensured that Almeria’s Sadiq Umar was absent from the Super Eagles, Onuachu was called up to join the main squad and what a decision that has proven to be.
The KRC Genk attacker scored Nigeria’s only goal and the winner in a tough duel against Benin Republic in Porto Novo.
The Super Eagles knew they had booked a ticket to the AFCON hours before the game, after Sierra Leone and Lesotho played out a stalemate in Maseru.
Nigeria dominated the Beninoise who were content with staying behind the ball for large spells of the game. It wasn’t enough at the end as Onuachu headed in a rebound after a blocked Victor Osimehn shot. It was a goal at the death but Onuachu’s previously dying chances are now alive as he has at least won the respect of the coach by scoring a vital goal on a difficult ground.
Onuachu’s introduction breathed life into the Super Eagles and his presence was a handful for the Beninoise defence.
The victory against Benin has not only sealed Nigeria’s place as group winners but have given the Squirrels a herculean task to overcome away in Freetown.
Standby Onuachu did enough to rewrite his fate, and seal his place and prove, at least, that if the team stands by him, he has goods in the kitty.
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