The Super Eagles of Nigeria cruised past Sudan 3-1 at the Africa Cup of Nations to guarantee their place in the last-16 with a match to spare.
Building on their impressive win over Mohamed Salah and seven-time champions Egypt in a heavyweight Group D opener in midweek, the Super Eagles brushed aside the Sudanese Saturday evening thanks to goals from Samuel Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi and Moses Simon.
Walieldin Khedr Safour Daiyeen got Sudan off the mark at their first AFCON tournament for a decade with a consolation penalty in the second half after a foul by Ola Aina.
The result means Augustine Eguavoen’s side join hosts Cameroon by sealing a spot in the knockout rounds, with their final group game to come against Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday evening.
Unchanged from that statement 1-0 win over Egypt secured by Kelechi Iheanacho’s first-half goal, Nigeria – who won the last of their three AFCON titles in South Africa in 2013 – were ahead after only three minutes at the Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua.
A long throw-in from Aina wasn’t cleared by Sudan’s panicked defence and the ball was eventually knocked down for Villarreal winger Chukwueze to rifle home.
Nigeria had no shortage of chances to build on that advantage before the interval, but could not convert until a slightly bizarre second on the stroke of half-time.
A free-kick from the right was flicked on by captain William Troost-Ekong and the ball was then deflected onto the head of Awoniyi – who certainly did not know much about it – before squirming under the grasp of Sudan goalkeeper Ali Abdallah Abu-Eshrein.
Nigeria struck again straight after the break to put the game to bed, with Simon chesting the ball down after a quick attack and slotting under the goalkeeper from an acute angle.
Sudan reduced the deficit with 20 minutes left as VAR intervened following Aina’s overzealous defending at a corner, but Walieldin Khedr Safour Daiyeen’s first senior international goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation for the 1970 champions.