Super Eagles To Face South Africa On Wednesday
By Izuchukwu Okosi
Nigeria will play South Africa in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday after overcoming defending champions Cameroon 3-2 in a nervy contest at the Alexandria Stadium Saturday evening in the day’s first Round of 16 games.
South Africa shocked hosts Egypt 1-0 in the second match on Saturday to book a place in the ‘last 8.’
Odion Ighalo’s brace and a first AFCON goal for Alex Iwobi won the contest for the Super Eagles.
Ahmed Musa pounced on a loose ball in the fourth minute but his intended pass for Odion Ighalo was cleared.
Oghenekaro Etebo was lucky to escape a booking a minute later for an innocuous challenge on Sparta Prague’s Georges Mandjeck.
In the 12th minute Ola Aina cleared the ball in the six yard after a threatening move spearheaded by Cameroon’s Stephane Bahoken while Alex Iwobi had a weak shot saved few seconds later.
Super Eagles’ Kenneth Omeruo cleared the ball in the 15th minute as Ngoran Collins made to latch unto an exquisite pass by Christian Bassogog.
Ighalo was awarded the opening goal as his deflected shot in the 19th minute off Yaya Banana eluded other Cameroon defenders and goalkeeper Andre Onana.
Sloppy defending by Nigeria defenders almost gifted Cameroon but Pierre Malong flashed his shot wide.
Cameroon restored parity in the 41st minute through Stephane Bahogen who got the better of Kenneth Omeruo after a Bassogog cross into the Nigerian box.
The Indomitable Lions went ahead two minutes later through Clinton Njie who shrugged off Ola Aina after a headed pass from Bahogen.
Odion Ighalo was bundled to the ground inside the Cameroonian 18 yard box in the 45th minute but referee Joshua Bondo signalled for end of the first half.
Nigeria were lucky not to concede an own goal in the 51st minute as Ola Aina almost inadvertently turned in a Clinton Njie’s cross.
Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr introduced Samuel Chukwueze in place of Moses Simon but it was Ighalo who grabbed the Eagles second goal. Ahmed Musa chested down a Chidozie Awaziem cross for Ighalo to steer home with a left footed swiveled finish in the 63rd minute
Alex Iwobi then made it 3-2 with a neat finish as Ighalo’s pass in the 66th minute.
A tactical change by the Eagles saw defender Leon Balogun come on for Alex Iwobi. The Eagles held on to finish with the slim win.