The Syli Stars of Guinea yesterday handed Nigeria a costly 1-0 in a 2012 Nations Cup Group B qualifying match in Conakry and throw the landlocked West African country into a massive victory party. That shock victory was not the only upset of yesterday.
In Niamey, the Menas also pull down six-time African champions, Egypt from their Olympian height with a similar 1-0 victory while in Bangui, the Central Africans scored two un-replied goals against Algeria to also send their citizens dancing to Sokous music on the streets.
However, the defeat of the Super Eagles in Conakry was the anticlimax of days of doubts whether the game was going to take place in the first place following the ban slammed on the Nigeria by FIFA.
The home team took an early lead and defended it till the end, meaning Nigeria again left Guinea empty handed as the Eagles are yet to win in that country.
Guinea have six points from two matches, while Nigeria remain in second place on three points after Ethiopia snatched a lone goal victory away in Madagascar.
The September 28 Stadium in Conakry was packed full and the sold-out crowd did not have to wait for long before they opened scoring after five minutes.
The Super Eagles fought back gamely after this early set back, forcing several corners and free kicks but these efforts all came to zero.
Esperance striker Michael Eneramo would have drawn Nigeria level late in the first half but he missed a sitter to the amazement of his fellow teammates.
Nigeria controlled possession but hardly threatened their hosts, who were fired up against the more famous opponents.
Caretaker coach Austin Eguavoen tried to inject more force in the Eagles strike force with second-half introductions of John Owoeri and Ahmed Musa.
Russia-based striker Obafemi Martins broke free late in the second half but his shot from inside the box was scrambled away for a harmless corner.
Late on, Guinea caught the Nigeria defence napping courtesy of a quick counter attack but the final shot crashed against the side netting.
In March, Nigeria will welcome Ethiopia, while Guinea are guests of Madagascar in continuation of the qualifying tournament.
The winners of this group will qualify automatically for the Nations Cup to be hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in 2012
After eliminating Nigeria from the African Nations Championships CHAN, Niger made a great impact yesterday afternoon by beating Egypt 1-0 at the Seyni Kountché Stadium in Niamey.
France-based striker Ouwa Moussa Maazou scored the only goal in the 46th minute after taking advantage of a defensive slip-up.
Maazou profited from makeshift left-back Mohamed Abdul-Shafi’s blunder to hand Niger the historic win.
The Pharaohs, who are ranked ninth in the world, failed to threaten Niger, who are ranked 154 in the world by FIFA.
The win leaves Niger equal on three points with group leaders South Africa, who take on Sierra Leone in the group’s other game in Freetown late yesterday.
The defeat leaves Egypt at the bottom of the group as they suffered a shock in their opening group game last month when they were held 1-1 by unheralded Sierra Leone in Cairo.
The Pharaohs will travel to Johannesburg to face South Africa in their next game in March 2011 while Niger host Sierra Leone.
Algeria’s run of poor form hit a new low yesterday with a shock defeat by Central Africa.
The hosts were the more lively in attack throughout a game played in heavy rain, but had to wait until the 81st minute to make their superiority count, with Audin Boutou firing home from 20 yards (meters).
Kethevoama Therence scored the second on the break five minutes later.
Algeria has not won in seven games and lies bottom of Group D, which is led by Central Africa on goal difference ahead of Morocco after two matches.
SOURCE:Thisday Newspaper – www.thisdayonline.com