AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Nigeria vs Sierra Leone – Historical Perspective of both teams

AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Nigeria vs Sierra Leone – Historical Perspective of both teams

The matchday 5 fixtures of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations kicked off this week, and the Super Eagles of Nigeria will be taking on the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in a crucial tie at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Stadium in Monrovia, Liberia, on Sunday, June 18.

The two West African teams are not strangers to each other, as they have previously met on 17 occasions, with Nigeria winning the bulk of the games. The Super Eagles have come out on top ten times, while the Leone Stars have won twice, and the two teams have shared the spoils on five different occasions.

The history between the two teams began as far back as an international friendly game in 1961, when the then-Green Eagles team were 4-2 winners over the Leone Stars. The next ten meetings between the two teams saw Nigeria emerge as winners five times, while Sierra Leone drew three times and won twice, including a famous 1-0 win in the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The next three matches favored the Eagles, as they recorded wins in all the games, scoring seven goals and conceding two.

Their rivalry was rekindled in 2020, when both teams were drawn in Group L of the 2021 AFCON Qualifiers. The two-legged tie both ended in a draw, but the first leg was most shocking when the Leone Stars came back from a four-goal deficit to tie the game at 4-4, while the second leg in Freetown ended in a goalless stalemate.

Their most recent encounter came on matchday 1 of the 2023 AFCON qualifiers, with Nigeria ending as 2-1 winners at the Abuja National Stadium as two goals from Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen cancelled out a Jonathan Morsay opener.

Nigeria are three-time winners of the tournament, having won it in 1980, 1994, and 2013, while Sierra Leone have never won the title. The Super Eagles have made 19 appearances at the continental tournament and are gunning for their 20th, while their West African counterparts have qualified three times and are in search of a fourth appearance at the Mundial.

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