Nigeria inch closer to Russia with draw in Yaounde

Nigeria inch closer to Russia with draw in Yaounde

Nigeria produced a disciplined performance to force hosts Cameroon to a 1-1 draw in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier played at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde.

Nigeria, with a 100% record in qualifying went in front on 30 minutes through winger Daddy Simon but substitute Vincent Aboubakar rescued a point for the African champions from the penalty spot fifteen minutes from time.

Monday night’s result still put Nigeria in pole position to pick Group B’s sole ticket to Russia as they lead 10 points from 4 matches. A point in their next game, at home to Zambia will clinch the Super Eagles a sixth appearance at the Mundial.

Team News
Wounded by Friday’s annihilation in Uyo, the Lions were without defender Ngadjui Ngadeu who was suspended for multiple card offences while attacking duo Christian Bassogog and Vincent Aboubakar were dropped to the substitute bench.

Nigeria meanwhile named an unchanged XI to the side that started on Sallah Day with striker Odion Ighalo passing a late fitness test.

First half
The hosts did create the game’s first opening on ten minutes but striker Jean-Pierre Nsame’s flick on Fabrice Olinga’s cross went wide of Ezenwa’s near post.

They continued to enjoy more of the ball possession as Nigeria sat back in their own half. Odion Ighalo, passed fit despite being stretchered off in Friday’s game looked sharp upfront and gave Teikeu and Banana reasons to remain alert.

The Super Eagles however got their noses in front on the half hour mark with their first real attempt on goal after a persistent effort by Odion Ighalo.

The Changchun Yatai man saw his initial square ball parried by Cameroonian goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa but the Lions failed to clear their lines, allowing Victor Moses’s volley fall kindly to Moses Simon who scored one time from a crowded box.

Moses Simon doing the back flip to celebrate his goal for Nigeria

Nigeria almost doubled their lead moments later when Victor Moses freed Ighalo once again. This time, the number 9 created room for himself with a couple of step-overs before shooting just over the bar.

Nigeria remained a disciplined unit and had a penalty appeal waved away eight minutes before half time when Moses fell under a challenge by Adolphe Teikeu, referee Bakary Gassama had no interest in it.

Second half

Both teams remained the same after the interval with the hosts enjoying even more spell of possession while their visitors, with a goal to their credit already remained organised in their own half.

The home fans were animated when coach Hugo Broos made double changes just after the hour mark, bringing on Vincent Aboubakar and Christian Bassogog, two players dropped after the first leg annihilation.

Despite half chances being wasted by the Lions, Nigeria almost doubled their advantage on 67 minutes when Chelsea star, Moses twisted and turned both Cameroonian centre backs inside the box but his curling effort clipped the upright and into safety.

Moses – lively as ever for Nigeria

Nigeria almost doubled their lead moments later when Victor Moses freed Ighalo once again. This time, the number 9 created room for himself with a couple of step- overs before shooting just over the bar.

Nigeria remained a disciplined unit and had a penalty appeal waved away eight minutes before half time when Moses fell under a challenge by Adolphe Teikeu, referee Bakary Gassama had no interest in it.

Second half

Both teams remained the same after the interval with the hosts enjoying even more spell of possession while their visitors, with a goal to their credit already remained organized in their own half.

The home fans were animated when coach Hugo Broos made double changes just after the hour mark, bringing on Vincent Aboubakar and Christian Bassogog, two players dropped after the first leg annhilitaion.

Despite half chances being wasted by the Lions, Nigeria almost doubled their advantage on 67 minutes when Chelsea star, Moses twisted and turned both Cameroonian centre backs inside the box but his curling effort clipped the upright and into safety.

The introduction of Aboubakar and Bassogog coincided with Nigerian captain, still not 100% fit after a 4-month injury exiting the pitch and that virtually led to an onslaught by the Cameroonians on the Nigerian penalty box.

Their pressure came off sixteen minutes from time when Nigerian goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa  fouled winger Arnold Djoum inside the box, referee Gassama wasted no time in pointing to the spot.

Aboubakar duly obliged and gave the fans a ray of hope, believing in an unlikely resurrection of their buried qualification hopes.

Aboubakar once again looked onto the referee for help seven minutes from time when he fell under challenge from Nigeria’s Leon Balogun but Gassama deemed it not enough for a foul.

Ezenwa then denied Cameroon the maximum points when he stopped Sebastien Siani’s effort from 25 yards before doing well to beat out the rebound by Collins Fai.

Gernot Rohr’s men held on for their point and can go back to their respective sides assured of qualification when Zambia’s Chipolopolo come calling on October 7.

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