Victor Osimhen took it upon himself to console Guinea-Bissau midfielder Opa Sangante after his comical own goal handed Nigeria an early lead at the Africa Cup of Nations. The Super Eagles went into the match looking to reach the knockout stages as group winners after drawing with Equitorial Guinea and beating tournament hosts Ivory Coast in their first two games.
Nigeria were gifted the lead after 36 minutes when Sangante smashed the ball into the back of his own net, leaving his goalkeeper helpless to prevent Guinea-Bissau from going behind in comical fashion. It was certainly a moment to forget for Sangante, who was quickly consoled by Osimhen in a classy show of sportsmanship from Nigeria’s star forward.
Osimhen, who plays for Napoli and has long been linked with a move to the Premier League, initially celebrated with his Nigeria team-mates as they revelled in taking the lead. He then jogged over to Sangante and put an arm around him in a bid to lift the spirits of his opponent, who looked despondent as he trudged back into position.
The Nigeria talisman has scored 20 goals in just 28 international appearances and has led his country’s attacking charge at AFCON as they hunt a fourth continental title. He grabbed a vital equaliser for the Super Eagles in their draw against Equitorial Guinea before providing an assist for the only goal of the game against Ivory Coast.
Osimhen thought he had doubled Nigeria’s lead against Guinea-Bissau when he bundled the ball home from close range just before the hour mark. However, the apparent goal was quickly ruled out for an offside in the build-up, with a brief VAR check confirming the referee’s on-field decision.
It remains to be seen whether Osimhen’s strong form for his country will finally lead to a move away from Napoli, with a number of top clubs thought to be keen on his signature. Chelsea and Manchester United are said to be among his biggest admirers, while he turned down a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia in the summer window.
Osimhen recently fanned the flames over his future at club level by insisting that he will play in the Premier League at some point, telling Sky Sports: “Of course one day, definitely. But for now, I have other plans in my career that I am looking forward to, so when the time comes, everyone knows.”
The 25-year-old has already signed a contract extension at Napoli, which includes a £103million release clause and is set to keep him on their books until the summer of 2026. He has scored eight goals in all competitions for the Italian champions this season, having missed a number of earlier games through injury and suspension.
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