Football: Nigeria qualify for W/Cup play-off

The Super Eagles of Nigeria were on Tuesday held to a 1-1 draw with the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde…

The Super Eagles of Nigeria were on Tuesday held to a 1-1 draw with the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde in their last 6th game of the qualifier played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.The Nigerian team, which needed a point to move on to the play-off stage of the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup African qualifiers, took the lead in the 2nd minutes of the match through Victor Osimhen.

The Blue Sharks of Cape Verde got their equalizer in the 5th minute of the match through Mendes Stipora, whose header from a corner-kick beat the Nigerian goalkeeper.

After the equalizer, the Blue Sharks adopted a defensive strategy to prevent the Super Eagles, who have mounted pressure on them from scoring another goal and relied on counter attacks in their search for the elusive goal that will guarantee their qualification.

With the 1-1 score line, the Super Eagles finished the 6th match with 13 points while Cape Verde had 11 points.

Local media reports on Wednesday quoted the Super Eagles’ head coach, Gernot Rohr, as saying that the Nigerian team had to settle for a draw in view of the technicality of the game.

“Sometimes a draw night be an escape because we want to qualify and we know that a draw will do that.

“It was not an easy game because the Cape Verde team has a very good technical team. They secured their goal at a moment when we believed we had the match in our hands.

“But we missed lots of chances, especially in the first half, and we deserved to score a second goal. But as it was not coming, we had to defend,” he said.

 “The chance to score our goal came in through Ighalo,” he said.

In his post-match interview, the coach of the Blue Sharks Cape Verde, Pedro Brito, commended the efforts of the Super Eagles and tipped the to qualify for the World Cup, given the availability of experienced players in the team.

In the other match in Group C, Liberia defeated Central African Republic 3-1.