Nigeria 1-1 Lesotho: Powerful Semi Ajayi header not enough as Crocodiles upset poor Super Eagles

Semi Ajayi's goal saved Nigeria from defeat against Lesotho in a World Cup qualifier (Photo Credit: Super Jay/X)

Nigeria 1-1 Lesotho: Powerful Semi Ajayi header not enough as Crocodiles upset poor Super Eagles

Izuchukwu Akawor 18:52 - 16.11.2023

153-ranked Lesotho forced the Super Eagles to a share of the spoils in the FIFA WCQ, with Semi Ajayi the hero for Nigeria.

West Bromwich Albion defender Semi Ajayi was the hero as Nigeria kicked off the 2026 FIFA WCQ on a shaky note. 

Nigeria’s Super Eagles came from behind to salvage a point after an uninspiring 1-1 draw against Lesotho at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Thursday. 

Semi saves Nigeria Super Eagles 

In what was the first game of the World Cup qualifier, Nigeria was forced to a share of the spoils at home. 

The hosts put up a dominant performance but lacked the requisite cutting edge in the final third to make it count. 

The Super Eagles World Cup qualification opener was a 1-1 draw against the Crocodiles of Lesotho at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom. Photo Credit - X/Pooja
A shaky start for Nigeria Super Eagles

Nigeria’s Super Eagles created the best chances in the game but were guilty of being wasteful with Taiwo Awoniyi missing the best chance in the first half. 

Jamilu Collins and Kelechi Iheanaho all came close but it was the visitors who broke the deadlock in the second half to take a shock lead. 

Lesotho shock Nigeria

Eight minutes after the restart and against the run of play, Lesotho found themselves in front. 

In what was their first corner of the game, the Crocodiles made it count when Motlomelo Mkwanazi towered above everyone else to head the away side in front. 

The Crocodiles celebrated like they had won, with their bench running into the pitch and across to rejoice with the goalscorer. 

Super Eagles fightback 

Nigeria responded positively to going behind and piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser. 

Coach Jose Peseiro subbed on Moses Simon and Terem Moffi for Ademola Lookman and Taiwo Awoniyi. 

Semi Ajayi netted the decisive equaliser for Nigeria. (Photo Credit: The Super Jay/X

Nine minutes after going behind, Moses, who had injected more bite to the attack won a corner which Ajayi eventually headed in.

The header by the West Brom defender was powerful and saved Nigeria from a disastrous start to the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier. 

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