Sunday, 13 October 2013

World Cup qualifiers: Ethiopia 1 - 2 Nigeria

The Super Eagles went to Ethiopia and conquered both the altitude and the Walya Antelopes in the first leg of their World Cup qualifier. Super Eagles went and they conquered the high altitude of Ethiopia with a 2-1 victory as they signified a firm interest in making a fifth appearance in the World Cup come 2014 in Brazil. Emmanuel Emenike was the hero, scoring the equalizer and the winner in the 89th minute.

First half

The first half started with the Ethiopians on the front foot with their fans howling and making a terrific atmosphere. And it took just two minutes for the Eagles to concede a corner kick that was quickly followed by another one.

Emmanuel Emenike then drove the Eagles forward and won a corner kick in the fourth minute. The first shot in anger came in the eighth minute but No. 20 shot wide.

After persistent fouling on Victor Moses, Tesfaye was shown the first yellow card of the match in the 12th minute.

Nnamdi Oduamadi then missed the first gilt-edged chance when he miss-kicked Emenike’s cross. Ethiopia then went forward and Saledine Saif thought he had scored but Godfrey Oboabona made a fantastic clearance to keep the match at 0-0.

Ahmed Musa had a half volley smothered by Butako and then Coach Ternat Bishaw calls for a water break, a call that was really confusing to the Eagles.

Adane Girma should have scored in the 38th when a loose ball from Moses fell to him but after dribbling three Eagles defenders, he shot wildly over.

Girma had another chance in second minute of added time but Enyeama made a great save.

2nd Half

it was not as helter-skelter as it was in the first half and the first chance came for the Antelopes in the 55th minute but Enyeama read the bounce very well and cleared the danger.

And then the Ethiopians scored and the goal would at best be described as a fluke because Enyeama miss-judged a cross by Assefa and the referee ruled that the ball had crossed the line before the Nigerian goalkeeper claimed it.

Nosa Igiebor came on for Nnamdi Oduamadi in the 63rd minute and that goal woke up the Nigerians who they went in search of the equalizer.

Nigeria should have equalised in the 62nd minute when Moses went one-on-one with the goalkeeper but the Ethiopian goalkeeper did well to save at teh feet of Moses. Coach Stephen Keshi withdrew Moses, who had an average game for Brown Ideye.

And then in the 67th minute, Emenike equalized with a thunderbolt from outside the box and then the Nigerians went on the offensive.

Musa hit the post in the 77th minute off a terrific pass by Mikel. Oboabona made another great clearance in the 83rd minute.

Nigeria went ahead for the first time in the encounter in the 88th minute when Emenike was dragged down in the box for a clear penalty. The Fenerbahce player dusted himself off and cooly dispatched the penalty to give the Super Eagles the victory and a leg in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The second leg will be held in Calabar on October 16 at the U.J Esuene Stadium but the Nigerians must believe that they hold all the cards.

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