• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

AFCON qualifier: Poor Eagles lose again in Sudan

Nigeria’s chances of qualifying for the 2015 African Cup of Nations became slimmer as they lost 1-0 to Sudan in Saturday’s Afcon qualifier played in Khartoum, Sudan.

Super Eagles of Nigeria will be needing a miracle to qualify for the next African Cup of Nations. The hopes of Nigeria qualifying for the next African Cup of Nations holding in Morocco in 2015 has received a major set back after their Sudanese counterpart playing at home humbled them 1 – 0.

Sudan scored the only goal of the game in the 42nd minute of first half when Elagbir Babeker clinched unto a cross after he was left unmarked in the 18 yard box – he finished off beautifully with a well placed header leaving captain Vincent Enyeama no chance at all.

The result means the defending champions, Nigeria, are with just a single point in Group A after playing three matches.

Coach Stephen Keshi and his boys will, however, be disappointed after tonight’s awful performance against Sudan.

A ferocious header by striker Bakri Abd Elgadir in the closing stages of the first half which left Enyeama no chance ensured the hosts got the better of the African Champions who put every foot wrong in the encounter.

Stephen Keshi’s men took the game to their opponents in the early stages of the game as they launched attack on the Sudanese in their numbers which led to their first corner kick of the encounter which was won by Ahmed Musa off Elhag.

However, the resulting kick could not threaten the hosts’ goalkeeper as it was cleared by the dogged Sudanese defence line up.

Nigeria’s best chance of the encounter came in the 10th minute as Igiebor’s effort rattled the cross bar after receiving a low pass from Emmanuel Emenike.

Few minutes later, the African champions failed to make their dominance count as goalkeeper Mahgoub was at his best to stop Emenike who profited from the Sudanese poor defensive network. Not many would believe a striker in the mould of the Fernabache man would bungle away such a wonderful opportunity.

Sudan began to grow in confidence as they organised their midfield to threaten the Eagles’ back line. Ker Elgadir’s shot in the 27th minute could have been the curtain raiser but Omeruo was well placed to clear the ball out of play.

As the game progressed, the Eagles’ front line took their turn to miss glaring chances that could have put them at least three goals ahead going into the halftime break.

With less than four minutes to the end of the first half, Elgadir rose above the Nigeria’s defence line to thunder home a power header that clearly beat Enyeama who watched helplessly in goal for Stephen Keshi’s men.

On resumption of the second half, the hosts tried to double their lead as danger man Elgadir gave the Eagles’ defence sleepless moment – in the process got Efe a needless caution while trying to curtain the excesses of the Sudanese forward.

Even with the introduction of Emmanuel Chukwuemeka for Gbolahan Salami and Raheem Lawal for Efe Ambrose, Nigeria failed to get the cutting edge as they looked disgruntled in terms of team work and tactical ability.

The reigning African champions are now placed at the base of the table with a point from three matches while South Africa that earlier in the day got past Congo 2-0 away from home are ranked first with seven points from the same number of matches.