Odion Jude Ighalo produced a striking masterclass to inspire Nigeria to a 3-2 win over Cameroon and send the Super Eagles to the quarter final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
The China based forward scored two goals and created the third as the 2013 champions came from a half-time deficit to beat the defending champions in front of just over ten thousand spectators at the Alexandria Stadium in Alexandria.
After a comfortable start to the game, Gernot Rohr led Nigeria went in front in the 19th minute through Ighalo who instinctively poked home Wilfred Ndidi’s cross across the face of goal after Moses Simon’s cross fell to him at the far post.
With Nigeria getting further confident and perhaps complacent, they got stunned in the 41st minute when striker Stephane Bahoken guided home Christian Bassogog’s cross to level the score before the Indomitable Lions went ahead three minutes later through Clinton Njie who bullied Ola Aina before finishing beyond Daniel Akpeyi.
Nigeria turned the corner in the second half especially when Rohr introduced Samuel Chukwueze for Moses Simon on the hour mark. Three minutes later, Nigeria equalised courtesy of another effort by Ighalo; this time, a well-taken left-footed effort from close range after captain Ahmed Musa chested a cross onto his path. It was Ighalo’s fourth goal in as many games against the Lions.
The Shanghai Shenhua striker then turned provider in the 66th minute when he sliced a pass through the legs of Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui for Arsenal star Alex Iwobi who finished home beyond Onana to put Nigeria in the lead for the second and last time in the game.
The Eagles will now proceed to Cairo next Wednesday for their quarter final clash with South Africa who pulled off the upset of the tournament with a 1-0 win over hosts and tournament favourites Egypt in Cairo.