Nigeria Suffer AFCON Shock

keshiCongo Brazzaville produced a shock victory in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign, beating Nigeria 3-2 in their Group A match in Calabar.

It is the first time Nigeria have lost a competitive home game in 33 years.

The Super Eagles fell apart in quite extraordinary fashion in Calabar – a reflection perhaps of the chaos engulfing Nigerian football at the moment.

Elsewhere on Saturday, there were also away wins for Cameroon, Algeria and Cape Verde on a day when 11 group qualifiers were scheduled across the continent.

Nigeria, the reigning African champions, took the lead against Congo after 13 minutes when Efe Ambrose’s header managed to find a way past Congo goalkeeper Massa Chansel.

But the lead did not last long as Prince Oniangue took advantage of some slack marking and equalised for the Red Devils two minutes later.

It was a tricky game played on a bumpy pitch which made ball-control nearly impossible.

As Nigeria struggled to find drive and creativity, disaster struck.

Just moments after goalkeeper Austin Ejide had done well to keep out a superb free kick by Francis Nganga, the visitors went in front on 40 minutes when Thievy Bifouma finished off a fine move.

Bifouma struck again in the 53rd minute when he converted a penalty awarded when he was fouled by Ogenyi Onazi inside the box.

Gbolahan Salami then gave the home side a glimmer of hope when he reduced the arrears with less than five minutes remaining.But the Red Devils held on for a famous victory.

Elsewhere, Cameroon made a perfect start to life without their retired talisman Samuel Eto’o with a workmanlike 2-0 victory over an out-of-sorts DR Congo side in Lubumbashi on Saturday.

Clinton N’jie, the France-based striker, opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time before Vincent Aboubakar, who plays for Porto in Portugal, doubled the advantage with eight minutes remaining.

Despite winning back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2000 and 2002, the indomitable Lions have failed to qualify for the past two tournaments.

Sterner tests lie ahead, with Ivory Coast also in this group, but after a rotten World Cup campaign, this win will give Volke Finke’s team plenty of confidence.

The Congolese are looking to secure a second straight appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations after crashing out of the group stage in South Africa in 2013.

But they were severely handicapped after 21 minutes when captain Youssouf Mulumbu was taken off with a hamstring injury.

Frenchman Christian Guorcuff marked his first competitive game in charge of Algeria with a 2-1 win over Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Saturday.

Hillel Soudani and Yasin Brahimi struck either side of half-time to ruin Portuguese coach Mariano Barreto’s first competitive as Ethiopia’s head coach.

Saladin Said gave the local fans something to shout about when he reduced the deficit from the penalty spot deep in stoppage time.

Ivory Coast defeated Sierra Leone 2-1 in Abidjan. Kei Kamara had put Sierra Leone ahead with Seydou Doumbia and Gervinho sealing the win for The Elephants.

Zambia and Mozambique drew 0-0 in a southern African derby at the Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola.

The Mambas went into the match with the weight of history on their shoulders – in 13 previous clashes against Chipolopolo, they had lost 11 times and drawn the other two.

In Tunis, Yacine Chikaoui scored a late penalty to give Tunisia a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Botswana.

Cape Verde produced an impressive display to beat Niger 3-1 in Niamey. Spain-based midfielder Garry pounced after just three minutes to give new Blue Sharks coach Luis Aguas a dream start.

 BBC

 

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