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Thursday,September 24,2020 08:48 AM

Nigerians keep hope alive

By Vision Reporter

Added 11th October 2009 03:00 AM

Nigeria held onto the little hope that that they could be one of five countries representing the continent at the World Cup finals with a stoppage time winner here last night.

Nigeria held onto the little hope that that they could be one of five countries representing the continent at the World Cup finals with a stoppage time winner here last night.

Nigeria 1 Mozambique 0
Tunisia 1 Kenya 0
Benin 1 Ghana 0
Cameroon 3 Togo 0
Gabon 3 Morocco 1
Zambia 0 Egypt 1
Malawi 1 Ivory Coast 1


Group B standings
P W D LF A Pts
Tunisia 5 3 2 0 7 3 11
Nigeria 5 2 3 0 6 2 9
Moz’bique 5 1 1 3 2 5 4
Kenya 5 1 0 4 3 8 3

Nigeria held onto the little hope that that they could be one of five countries representing the continent at the World Cup finals with a stoppage time winner here last night.

A World Cup on the continent without the popular Super Eagles could be a blow, and they nearly fell at the penultimate hurdle after a brave performance from Mozambique.

The group winner will now be confirmed at the final round of matches, with Nigerians only hoping that Tunisia falter.

There were no such worries for Ivory Coast, who qualified by drawing 1-1 in Malawi on Saturday while Cameroon moved closer to joining them with a 3-0 triumph over Togo.

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba scored just 120 seconds after coming on in the second half to give the Ivorian ‘Elephants’ an unassailable seven-point Group E advantage.

The visitors had been rocked midway through the second half at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre when Jacob Ngwira scored his first World Cup goal to put the ‘Flames’ ahead.

Bosnia-born Ivory Coast coach Vahid Halilhodzic responded by sending on Drogba to score the goal that took the cocoa-producing west African country into a second consecutive World Cup tournament.

The ‘Elephants’ made an honourable first-round exit in Germany three years ago, losing narrowly to Argentina and the Netherlands before finishing with a win over Serbia-Montenegro.

England coach Fabio Capello says Ivory Coast are capable of going far in South Africa next year while Chelsea boss Carlos Ancelloti claims he would coach them for free at the finals, much to the annoyance of Halilhodzic.

Apart from talismanic Drogba, Ivory Coast also started with Barcelona midfield enforcer Yaya Toure on the bench while an injury ruled out his older brother, Manchester City defender Kolo.

Resurgent Cameroon stayed top of Group A after outclassing shock 2006 qualifiers Togo in Yaounde while Gabon stayed one point adrift after beating Morocco 3-1 in Libreville.

Midfielder Geremi Njitap scored at the second attempt off a penalty to give the ‘Indomitable Lions’ a half-time advantage against Togolese opponents led by reigning African Footballer of the Year Emmanuel Adebayor.

But the Manchester City striker was substituted 15 minutes into the second half after goals from Jean Makoun and Achille Emana had given Cameroon a 3-0 cushion.

Makoun netted off a pass from Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o, who dribbled past four defenders, and Emana beat overworked goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale with a low drive.

A Cameroon side transformed by the mid-year arrival of French coach Paul le Guen have 10 points, Gabon nine, Togo five and Morocco three and the Lions cannot be overtaken if they triumph on November 14 in Rabat.

Hicham Mahdoufi conceded an own goal on the stroke of half-time to give Gabon a lead they stretched during the second half through Eric Mouloungou and Daniel Cousin before Adel Taarabt snatched a late consolation goal.

Egypt kept alive hopes of overtaking Group C pacesetters Algeria with a fortunate 1-0 victory in Zambia courtesy of a mid-second half strike from midfielder Hosny Abd Rabou.

Algeria (plus five) lead Egupt (plus three) on goal difference and will regain a three-point advantage if they defeat bottom-of-the-table Rwanda in Blida Sunday.
Additional reporting by AFP and Reuters

Nigerians keep hope alive

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