By Sab Osuji & James Agberebi at Eko Atlantic Beach:
Photos by Ganiyu Yusuf:
Nigeria Super Sand Eagles got their 2016 CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations campaign on a bright note with a nervy 3-2 win over Pharaohs of Egypt beach soccer team at the Eko Atlantic Beach on Tuesday night, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The win put the Nigerians in second position in the Group A standings behind leaders, Ivory Coast who spelt Ghana (5-0) in their opening Group A tie earlier..
After a greater part of the opening period was spent by both sides sizing up each other, Nigeria captain, Isiaka Olawale, a veteran of the beach game brought his experience and leadership quality into play and broke the deadlock on the dot of the first period.
Beach soccer veteran and captain of Nigeria Supersand Eagles, Isiaka Olawale handed Nigeria the opening goal with 54 seconds left for play in the first period.
It was a perfect inspiration to take into the second period as the Nigerians practically put into play lessons from their Copa Lagos defeat by Switzerland two days earlier at the same pitch.
Back into the second period, the Beach Pharaohs threw everything into the game but Nigeria goalkeeper, Godwin Ayanlogu stood his ground, making several daring saves including two instant blocks off Alaa Sobhy.
Down the other end, Emmabuel Ohwoferia doubled the Nigeria Super Sand Eagles' advantage when he got to the positive end of a twin move with Victor Tale.
The Egyptians hauled themselves back into the game when Mohammed Abdelnaby reduced the tally for his side.
It then became a spell of apprehension for the Nigerians with memories of the defeat by Switzerland flashing across their minds when they took the lead two days earlier, but flunked it and lost 8-3 to the Swiss team.
But Abu Azeez who has become more popular amongst the chering crowd just as captain Olawale, hauled his efforts either wide of post or across the crossbar.
The Super Sand Eagles just hung on to their slim advantage as minutes ticked away in the second period.
As would be expected, Ahmed Abouserel smashed in the equalizer for the Egyptians with just a minute remaining in the second period.
It was two goals apiece going into the third and final period, and coach Adamu Ejor knew there was really fire on the mountai, especially as Ivory Coast took a commanding lead at the top of the Group A table following the emphatic 5-0 defeat of Ghana in their earlier group match.
However, Fuwad Badmus restored the Super Sand Eagles' lead with five and half minutes remaining in the third and final period to send the crowd into ecstacy.
With scores now at 3-2 in the host nation's favour, the drums came more loudly alive as the cheers and clappings heralded every touch of the ball by the Eagles.
Egypt goalkeeper became more adventurous upfield and in one of such moments, he left his goal open but Suleiman Mohammed hesitated a bit after racing down from the Centre before the Pharaohs recovered with a final block tackle.
OGBONNA IS PEPSI MVP
Emeka Ogbonna won the Pepsi MVP award of the cracky clash between Nigeria and Egypt.
Ogbonna was all over the Egyptians as the Super Sand Eagles cruised to a nervy 3-2 win in their Group A match of the 2016 CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations holding at Eko Atlantic Beach, Lagos.