The Super Eagles are now doomed in their aspirations to qualify for next year’s AFCON tournament in Gabon after losing 0-1 to Egypt in Alexandria tonight. The task before the Eagles became tougher after Friday’s 1-1 draw with Egypt in Kaduna and the withdrawal of Chad from the AFCON race.
Nigeria missed out on the 2015 edition in Equatorial Guinea and were desperate for a return. The first half ended goalless with the Super Eagles keeping to coach Samson Siasia’s tactical master plan to keep proceedings neat and tidy and then attack the Egyptians on the counter.
But with the Egyptians resolute they soon found a way past the Nigerians in the second half.
19 year old Ramadan Sobhy scored in the 65th minute after a deflection off his shot ensured the Super Eagles left the field with hands in their mouth. Upon scoring Nigeria, the Egyptians introduced a striker with the hope that they could pull the Nigerian defence across the lines knowing fully well the Nigerians will attack, attack and attack as they needed a goal badly.
Ighalo, ineffective throughout the match, drifted towards the left side as new entrant Alex Iwobi and Ahmed Musa tried to play centrally. Time and time again, Nigeria were thwarted by the Egyptian defence causing the Nigerian backline to play high up and expose themselves in 3 vs 4 or 3 vs 5 situations.
And then the moment of hope came! Victor Moses, hardworking through out the night blazed a rocketing shot from almost 30 yards which hit the bar and spiraled towards the other corner. Victor Moses and the Super Eagles bench were distraught, how wasn’t that a goal? Even with four minutes of extra time, the Super Eagles looked more likely conceding a goal than scoring one.
Nigeria with 2 points from three games, with just one game against Tanzania remaining, is effectively out of qualification for next year’s AFCON tournament.