Nigeria defeated Benin Republic 2-1 to begin the 2021 AFCON qualifiers on a winning note.’s Izuchukwu Okosi looks at the four takeaways from the Group L match at the GodswillAkpabio Stadium, Uyo.

1. Super Eagles Need A Scoring Strike Partner For Osimhen

Lille striker Victor Osimhen converted a penalty in the first half to restore parity for the Eagles but after that he was not at his imperious best.

The striker had a glorious chance to double his tally in the second half but his effort at the near post was tame and could only win the Eagles a corner as the Benin Republic keeper failed to smother the ball.

Osimhen himself has been vocal of late calling on his teammates to get on the scoring trail and ease the burden on him.

2. Joe Aribo Had No Doubt About Nigeria Choice

Glasgow Rangers FC midfielder Joe Ayodele Aribo made  his competitive debut for Nigeria on Wednesday evening and had a decent game.

Very few Nigeria football faithful seem to miss former captain John Mikel Obi since the retirement of the mercurial Mikel and Aribo’s arrival in the Eagles.

Aribo has struck great understanding with his international colleagues on and off the pitch and his communication with them on Wednesday in an unfamiliar playing terrain was applaudable.

It does show Aribo never contemplated disappointing Nigeria and Nigerians.

3. Samuel Kalu The Showboater

Bordeaux forward Samuel Kalu had a good game on Wednesday evening and capped it with a sumptuous individual goal that turned out to be the winner.

Kalu also had other goalscoring chances. He tormented his markers all evening making this one of his best games for Nigeria. A contender with the friendly against Ukraine.

4. Eagles Defence Must Be Stronger

The Super Eagles conceded quite early in the match from a sloppy defending.

The team must not fall victims of such early concession in the qualification campaign. The victory is much welcome but it was a narrow one. A better side might have cancelled out Samuel Kalu’s second goal.

Izuchukwu Okosi