AFCON 23: Nigeria Chains Lions Of Cameroon 2-0 To Fly Into Quarterfinals

HOME, Sports

 By Eniola Olatunji 

…Meet Angola on Tuesday at 6pm for the quarterfinal match.

Atanlata of Italy winger, Ademola Lookman on Saturday chained the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon with a scintillating brace, two goals in a match that made the Super Eagles of Nigeria fly gleefully to the quarterfinals in a very tense match.

The Lions looked for whom to devour in the Nigerian pack and targeted both Victor Osimhen and Nwabili in goal for Nigeria and unnoticed ‘killerman’ of Cameroon, no 8 shirt Anguissa got down Nwabili who was stretchered off for Uzoho to come and finish the game.

Nigeria had wanted to finish the Lions early when Semi Ajayi pounced on a defensive blunder of the Cameroonian defenders to score in the 8th minute of play and as the Nigerians in the stadium almost brought down the Houphouet Boigny Stadium with their celebration, VAR punctured the joy as a child punctures a balloon ruling it offside.

Nigeria especially Osimhen who was a thorn in the flesh of the Cameroonians pounced of another defensive blunder from severe pressure to slot a pass to Lookman who scored the authentic first goal for Nigeria in the 36th minute.

Lookman who was picked as MAN OF THE MATCH was on course again receiving a Calvin Bassey floated pass from the left flank to beat Cameroonian goalkeeper, Fabrice Ondoa neatly for goal number two and even the grass on the field henceforth refused to yield for the Lions of Cameroon.

The match is the 3rd clean sheet (slang for not conceding a goal in a match) in four matches for Nigeria which is a fantastic achievement and the first time Nigeria will score more than one goal in a match makes one feel the jinx has been broken.

It can be recalled that the last competitive match of both countries was the Round of 16 encounters like the one under review played before a crowd of 10,000 fans at Alexandra Stadium in Egypt at AFCON 2019 and Ref Joshua Bindo of Botswana was in charge (where Odion Ighalo was highest Scorer with 5 goals). Ighalo got a brace (two goals in a match) at 19th and 63rd minute with Bahoken scoring at 41st minute and N’Jie equalized 44th minute before Alex Iwobi shoved in the decider which was his first goal at AFCON 2019. It was 2-1 then but 2-0 now.

Angola will now face the winner of the game, Nigeria in the quarterfinal on Friday 2nd February at the Houphet Boiny stadium at 6pm.

Nigeria chalked 7 points from 3 games scoring 3 goals and conceding only a goal placing second in her group A, whereas Cameroon only earned 4 points coming as a lucky loser scoring 5 goals and conceding 6 goals.

In their last AFCON matches in Ivory Coast, Cameroon beat Gambia 3-2; lost to Senegal 1-3 and drew 1-1 with Guinea. Nigeria beat Guinea by a lone goal, defeated hosts Ivory Coast also by a lone goal and played 1-1 with Equatorial Guinea. That in Nigeria is described as “Na God do am” or “Ori ba mi se” in Yoruba. Nigeria is a country that can wobble and fumble yet lift the trophy.

For editing purpose only a few head to head encounters will be cited. At the world cup qualifiers of 2017 Nigeria spanked Cameroon 4-0 on 1st September and in the 2nd leg played in Yaounde on 4th September that year it was 1-1 draw.

There were two friendly matches in 2021. Cameroon won in Nigeria by a lone goal on 4th June 2021 and on 8th June 2021 in Yaounde it was goalless.

Cameroon is four times AFCON champions. The podium finish of Cameroon is impressive. In 1972 they hosted and won Bronze defeating Zaire 5-2; The Lions first won the trophy in Ivory Coast in 1984 caging the Super Eagles of Nigeria 3-1; in 1986 she lost the trophy in a penalty shootout 5-4 after a goalless match to hosts Egypt; in 1988 they took the trophy again beating Nigeria 1-0 in Morocco; but in 1992 at Senegal the team ended 4th losing the Bronze to Nigeria 1-2.

When Nigeria and Ghana co-hosted in 2000 Cameroon again defeated their foes Nigeria 4-3 on penalty after 2-2 draw; it was back to back win for Cameroon in 2002 in Mali beating Senegal on penalty 3-2 after a goalless full time; at Ghana 2008, Cameroon bagged the Silver losing to Egypt by a lone goal; Cameroon last won the trophy at Gabon in 2017 beating Egypt 2-1 but hosting the last edition, Cameroon won Bronze beating Burkina Faso via penalty 5-3 after the grueling match ended 3-3.

Nigeria ranked 42 in the world is making her 26th appearance at AFCON. She is three times champion with some impressive podium finish. She got Bronze at Ethiopia 76 beating Egypt 3-2; bagged another Bronze in Ghana 78 beating Tunisia 2-0; won in Lagos at 1980 beating Algeria 3-0; got the Silver in three consecutive competitions – Ivory Coast 1984 losing to Cameroon 3-1, at Morocco 88 losing again to Cameroon 0-1 and Algeria 90 losing to Algeria by a lone goal.

Nigeria got Bronze at Senegal 92 beating rivals Cameroon 2-1; became champions at Tunisia 94 with a 2-1 win over Zambia; again lost to Cameroon when Nigeria/Ghana hosted in 2000 via 4-3 penalty shootouts after 2-2 scores to bag the Silver; Got the Bronze with a lone goal victory over Mali at Mali 2002; back to Tunisia in 2004 Nigeria won Bronze with a lone goal victory over Senegal; at Egypt 2006 Nigeria again beat Senegal 1-0 to win the Bronze; in 2010 at Angola Nigeria beat Algeria by a lone goal to win Bronze; she came back at South Africa 2013 under Stephen Keshi to win the trophy beating the Stallions of Burkina Faso by a lone goal scored by Sunday Mba and in 2019 she got the Bronze at Egypt in a lone goal victory over Tunisia. Please note that only podium finish records are presented concerning Nigeria.

Equatorial Guinea will tackle Guinea at Outtara in another Round of 16 at 6pm tomorrow Sunday while Egypt will parade her stars against DR Congo in yet another Round of 16 game at San Pedro same Sunday at 9pm.

Leave a Reply