AFCON 2021: What Guinea-Bissau v Sudan result means for Nigeria

Sudan and Guinea-Bissau played out a goalless draw on Tuesday, a result with major implications for the Super Eagles.

Nigeria benefits from goalless draw between Guinea-Bissau and Sudan

A few hours after Nigeria beat Egypt 1-0 to open their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign, the other two teams in Group D, Guinea-Bissau and Sudan played out a goalless draw to complete the first round of matches for that group.

That means Nigeria sit top of Group D and are now the favourites in the race to win the group which could prove absolutely crucial in the latter stages.

Guinea-Bissau were favourites by a small margin to beat Sudan, and they should have won but for some poor finishing.

Guinea-Bissau should have taken the lead in the 15th minute but striker Joseph Mendes headed onto the bar from point-blank range when in truth it looked easier to score than miss.

The only other significant moment in the game was in the 78th when Guinea-Bissau were awarded a penalty which was not taken until the 81st minute thanks to the customary lengthy AFCON VAR checks.

Perhaps the long wait had an effect on penalty taker Pele, who looked unsure in his run-up and produced a weak effort which was saved by the Sudan goalkeeper.

Piqueti followed up with a rebound from the saved penalty but smashed his effort against the crossbar when he really should have scored, and two more rebounded efforts failed to find the net, letting Sudan off the hook.

The major point for Nigeria (and Egypt by extension) to take from this game is that both these teams are just as weak as anticipated: expect no fairytale story here.

Guinea-Bissau drew a game they should have won 2-0 while Sudan were run ragged by Guinea-Bissau, proving that neither of these teams stand a chance against Nigeria.

Having already won the most difficult game in the group, the Super Eagles are now on course to finish Group D as the first-placed team, most likely with nine points.

If they achieve that, it would be the first time Nigeria has won an AFCON group since 2006. It would also be their first 9-point haul since 2006 and current interim coach, Augustine Eguavoen was the man who led them to those milestones.

Watching Guinea-Bissau and Sudan play would have renewed the confidence of the Nigerian team in the possibility of winning all three group games.

Nigeria’s next game is against Sudan on Saturday, January 15, 2022, one they are expected to win by a large margin.

The Sudanese will most likely sit back and defend in hopes of another goalless draw but it is unlikely that Nigeria will be as wasteful as Guinea-Bissau were.

Speaking of Guinea-Bissau, they should provide Nigeria with a tougher encounter than Sudan (and perhaps even Egypt) depending on the circumstances surrounding the game.

It would be the last game of the group stages with Nigeria already guaranteed qualification if they beat Sudan. They may not play with the same intensity as Guinea-Bissau, who would most likely be playing for a chance to stay in the tournament.

But based on the display against Sudan, Nigeria should still have enough to see off Guinea-Bissau even if Eguavoen treats it as an opportunity to give minutes to some fringe players.

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