Everton Star Iwobi On Target In Nigeria Success

Alex Iwobi scored his 10th international goal as Nigeria recovered from conceding early to open their 2023 Africa Cup Of Nations qualifying campaign with victory over Sierra Leone in Abuja.

Everton midfielder Iwobi finished the domestic campaign in fabulous form, contributing a string of indefatigable displays as his side resisted the threat of relegation. There has been scant chance for the 26-year-old to catch his breath following the end of a physically and mentally taxing season, however.

Iwobi was almost immediately back in action in a pair of friendly fixtures for his country, against Ecuador and Mexico in the USA.

But there was something more important on this fixture back in Nigeria, a first competitive game in charge for manager Jose Peseiro.

And Portuguese Peseiro endured a tricky start when John Morsay struck after 11 minutes to put Sierra Leone in front.

The away team almost instantly had a chance to double their advantage but hit the woodwork – and Iwobi speedily made Nigeria's opponents pay for their profligacy.

On the occasion of his 58th international cap, Iwobi linked with forward Moses Simon before planting an accurate 16th-minute finish across goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara.

Victor Oshimen, the striker from Napoli, completed the turnaround – and the scoring – four minutes before half-time.

The top two finishers in four-team qualification Group A will compete in the African finals tournament in Ivory Coast in summer 2023.

Nigeria continue their qualifying bid with a game against Sao Tome and Principe, staged in Morocco, on Monday.

Salomon Rondon, meanwhile, was on the field for 72 minutes of Venezuela's single-goal success against Saudi Arabia in Spain.

Everton striker Rondon was the scorer in a 1-0 victory over Malta eight days ago, increasing his national-team record haul to 35.

And the South Americans made it back-to-back post-season friendly wins courtesy of a goal 13 minutes before half-time from centre-half Nahuel Ferraresi.

Rondon won his 89th cap in the game in Murcia.

Elsewhere, Everton goalkeeper Zan-Luk Leban was an unused substitute in Slovenia Under-21's 2-0 European Championship qualification victory over Andorra in Kranj.

The Slovenians, who are out of the reckoning for qualification for next year's tournament in Georgia and Romania, finish their Group G campaign against England in Huddersfield on Monday.