Genk man Paul Onuachu has emerged the real winner of the first international break of the season after the Super Eagles completed the AFCON2022Q unbeaten.
Onuachu was on target again as Super Eagles, who sealed their qualification even before they kicked a ball on Saturday at Porto Novo but on Tuesday, thrashed Lesotho 3-0 in front of Lagos fans at the Teslim Balogun stadium to finish the qualifiers unbeaten.
Man of the match Victor Osimhen opened the floodgates in the first half before Oghenekaro Etebo doubled Nigeria’s advantage early in the second half.
Onuachu added a third, a second in as many games as a substitute, to put a seal on a comfortable day for Nigeria’s Super Eagles who played in front of Lagos fans for the first time in 20 years.
While the result was fully deserved and never in doubt, the day belonged once again to Onuachu, who was the super sub in Porto Novo just a few days earlier when he came off the bench to head in an historic 93rd minute winner against the Squirrels of Benin.
Against Lesotho, Nigeria’s top scorer in Europe, came off the bench to put in another goal-scoring performance, this time, to seal what was a comfortable and convincing win with easily the best goal of the day.
It was a goal that added gloss to everything about the style occasion, in front of Lagosians, amongst them the number citizen of the state, Babajide Sanwo-olu, who watched the Eagles live for the first time in two decades.
When you add that to his overall display in the two matches he played, the giant striker has indeed answered his critics (why anyone would even be a critic of this guy is baffling) the best possible way – on the pitch.
From not getting a call up from Eagles boss, Gernot Rohr, despite his incredible form for Genk this season in the Belgian Jupiler, to finally joining up with the national team after a player pulled out due to COVID-19 reasons, Onuachu, with his two goals in 34 minutes of action, is hereby declared winner of the international break.
Super Eagles manager, Rohr, may have completed the qualifiers unbeaten, a very good and commendable (even though expected) feat, but right now, he has a proper decision to make on Onuuachu, who stood out from standby.
The giant has now scored 29 goals in 32 appearances this season for club and country. You don’t place such a player on standby. Congratulations, Onuachu. Congratulations, Super Eagles and Nigerians.