Wednesday, March 30, 2016

AFCON 2017: Again Super Eagles fail to qualify

eagles-pngNIGERIA will not appear in next year’s Africa Cup
of Nations tournament in Gabon as the Super
Eagles failed to produce the spark that could
have earned them the ticket when they fell 0-1
to the Pharaohs of Egypt in Alexandria last night.
It will be the second time in two years that the
Super Eagles have failed to qualify for the
Nations Cup.
It was a match that the Eagles needed an outright
win as their host with four points in their kitty
had a two point advantage before the encounter.
Egypt now have an unassailable seven points with
one match to play in June.
Nigeria have a distant two points and even if
they trounce Tanzania in September, they will
not be at Gabon 2017.
Teenager Radwan Sobhi grabbed the all-
important goal in the 65 minute when his toed
effort from just inside the box trickled past a sea
of Nigerian legs and past goalkeeper Daniel
Despite their galaxy of foreign stars, Nigeria
never really stretched the Egypt backline except
in the 84th minute, when Victor Moses shot from
outside the box came off the post with the Egypt
goalkeeper well beaten. Hosts Egypt created the
better chances in the first half but Nigeria also
had their moments during a goalless first half at
a packed Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria.
Nigeria played with a lot of confidence and
dictated the tempo of the game for a good
period of the first 45 minutes.
Egypt created two early openings – Hegazy
headed narrowly past the Nigeria goal after five
minutes and almost immediately skipper Al-Said
fired with a left foot from inside the box.
Al-Said then delivered a low cross from the left
in the 29th minute, but Mohamed Salah was not
close to make contact.
In the closing minutes of the first half, Nigeria
goalkeeper Akpeyi pulled off two big saves from
Ibrahim Salah and again skipper Al-Said.
In the seventh minute, Umar Aminu dashed into
the Egyptian goal area but his shot was firmly
held by the goalkeeper.
Odion Ighalo had a half chance when he
controlled the ball inside the box, but he shot
wide in the 15th minute.
In the 86minute, Iwobi, whose inclusion brought
life into the Eagles attack, set up Ighalo inside
the box, but somehow the Egyptians survived
this onslaught as his shot flew off a defender
who threw himself in the line. That was Nigeria’s
last effort before the final whistle.

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