Substitute Karl Namnganda struck on the dot of full time to give the Central African Republic (CAR) a shock 0-1 win over Nigeria at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on Thursday.
The Super Eagles produced an uninspiring performance in front of about 5,000 allowed spectators on Match Day 3 of qualifying for Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup and were made to pay for their slothfulness.
Table-toppers Nigeria were expected to make a mincemeat of the visitors, who were bottom of the pool before the game, but the Eagles failed to find a way past a rearguard of Captain Saint-cyr Ngam-Ngam, Peter Guinari, Flory Yangao, Sadock Ndobe and Melky Ndokomandji.
Striker Victor Osimhen had the best chance of an otherwise poor first half for the Eagles but the Napoli man hurriedly hit his left footed effort, after he was slipped through by Kelechi Iheanacho, over.
Iheanacho then hobbled off at half time with his place taken by Germany based Taiwo Awoniyi. The striker failed to convert the team’s best chance in the second half, his effort cleared by the CAR defence.
Nigeria received a warning about an impending danger fifteen minutes from time when Namnganda went through on goal but was denied by goalkeeper Francis Uzoho who was starting his first competitive game for the team in two years.
Uzoho could however do nothing to stop the France based striker on the dot of full time who duly capitalized on a catastrophic indecision between William Ekong and Leon Balogun.
Members of CAR's U20 Women's team who lost to Nigeria's U20s (11-0 on agg yesterday) danced to celebrate their Men's national team unexpected win over Nigeria in Lagos. #WCQ #NGRCAR pic.twitter.com/v9t5NGjwyd— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) October 7, 2021
The defeat was Nigeria’s first home loss in four years (after a 0-2 loss to South Africa in Uyo in 2017). It was also the team’s first home loss in a FIFA World Cup qualifying game in forty years.
Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles will face the Central Africans in the reverse fixture in Douala, Cameroon on Sunday.
Uzoho; Ola Aina, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Jamilu Collins; Onyeka, Aribo (Ahmed Musa); M. Simon (S. Kalu), Ejuke; Iheanacho (Awoniyi 46′), Osimhen.