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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Garba Lawal not surprised by Guinea's hard stance in the narrow loss

12:50 PM GMT 27/06/2019
Nigeria celebrate 2019
The former Nigerian midfielder has affirmed that the performance of the Syli Nationale in their loss to the Eagles was expected

Former Nigeria international Garba Lawal stated he was not surprised Nigeria needed a late goal to beat Guinea 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt on Wednesday.

The Super Eagles qualified for the knockouts of Africa’s flagship football competition with a game to spare, through Kenneth Omeruo’s sublime header in the 73rd minute of the Group B encounter played at Alexandria Stadium.

“The first half was not interesting from my point of view but the Eagles played very well in the second half,” Lawal told Goal.

“It wasn’t as if that the Eagles were sleeping in the first half. It was just that the Guineans too didn’t give them a chance. The few chances they created too were not well utilised.

“It is just important that the Eagles have won two games out of two and they have kept clean sheets in both games too. They can have their minds settled that they have their legs already in the second round now.”

With a spot in the Round of 16 secured, Lawal is certain Nigeria won’t have any easy games further in the competition, saying the gap between the minnows and the supposed big teams has reduced drastically.

“The Guineans knew that they have a lot to lose if they are beaten in the game and it was the reason they played the way they did in the first half,” he continued.

“They just allowed a momentary loss of concentration and it was the time we scored. Guineans are no small team but from what we have seen at the ongoing Afcon, it has become difficult for the big teams to overrun the supposed minnows.

“The Eagles won’t have it easy in any of the remaining games but we are praying that they return home with the cup.”

Nigeria have six points from two games and they play their final group game on Sunday against Madagascar.