Guinea Bissau stunned Nigeria in Abuja on Friday, defeating the Super Eagles 1-0 in their Group A 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match. It was the biggest upset of the week.
In front of their home crowd at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Mama Samba Balde scored the lone goal in the 29th minute as the Guineans handed the Nigerians their first-ever defeat in the group stage of the qualifying campaign.
A fantastic ball from Kelechi Iheanacho set up Victor Osimhen for Nigeria’s greatest opportunity early in the game, but the Napoli star’s goal-bound shot was stopped in the 16th minute.
In the 29th minute, against the flow of play, the visitors scored when Balde picked up a long pass from Opa Sangante behind the defense and slid the ball past Francis Uzoho.
Eucidalcio Gomes was set up by Fali Cande with a beautiful cross-field pass a moment later, but he missed the goal despite taking down the goalkeeper and a defender nine minutes before halftime.
Nigeria gave it their all in the second half to try and get back into the game, but they were unable. Samuel Chukwueze twice came close with curving attempts, replacement Moses Simon missed a clear-cut opportunity, and substitute Paul Onuachu had a header miss by an inch.
After earlier surrenders to Portugal, Costa Rica, and Algeria, Nigeria’s loss was its fourth in a row.
The Djurtus topped the group with seven points after their victory away from home, one more than Nigeria, who dropped their opening encounter of the qualifying round. The two teams will next face on Monday in Bissau.
Baciro Cande, the head coach of Guinea, responded to the unexpected victory in Abuja by saying, “We knew it was going to be a tough game and having watched them play in the previous matches, we knew they love scoring early to disrupt the opponents.
“We took precautions to avoid conceding early, and we scored a good goal and maintained the lead. I’m happy with the players.