By Johnny Edward:
After missing out on the last two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, the Super Eagles have qualified for the 2019 edition in Cameroo after they played out a 1-1 draw with hosts South Africa in a crunch Group E qualifying match at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
But the main talking point from the match were two Super Eagles’ goals ruled out by the match officials. Musa teed up Iheanacho for an easy tap in but the goal was ruled out for an offside. Later in the 83rd minute of ,Bafana were let off the hook after Musa had the ball in the back of the net, but his goal was controversially disallowed with a wrong offside decision.
An own goal from Buhle Mkhwanazi in the ninth minute gave the Super Eagles the lead, but an easy tap in from Lebo Mothiba in the 26th minute restored parity for the hosts.
The Super Eagles started off brightly with the Bafana Bafana finding it difficult to curtail the pacy forwards of the Nigerian team.
Al-Nassr forward Ahmed Musa carved out the first chance of the team but his goal bound shot was blocked by the Bafana Bafana defence in the sixth minute of the encounter.
An exchange of great passes between Iwobi and Musa on the edge of the South African 18 yard box, resulted in Musa’s shot causing minimal fuss for Itumeleng Khune who was in goal for the Bafana Bafana.
Samuel Kalu then broke down the right flank and his cross was was deflected in by Mkhwanazi.
South Africa drew level in the 26th minute through Lebo Mothiba. Percy Tau skipped past the Super Eagles defence before laying up a delightful pass for RC Strasbourg Alsace striker, Mothiba to tap in.
In the 36th minute, Iheanacho’s first touch let him down as he failed to control a pass from close range to score.
At the start of the second half, the pace of the game dropped with both teams restricted to set piece and long range shots at goal.
John Ogu saw his header cleared off the line in the 58th minute off an Ahmed Musa corner.
Omeruo also missed a great chance to score from a set piece and hand Nigeria the lead in the 70rh minute of the encounter despite rising highest to meet Samuel Kalu’s well weighted free kick.
In the other group E fixture, Libya trounced Seychelles 8-1. Anis Mohamed Saltou scored a hat-trick while strikes from Motasem Sabbou, Khalid Almaryami, Salem Baleid , Rabia Al Shadi and Hamdou El Houni secured an emphatic win for Mediterranean Knights.
Libya remains third despite their huge win in Victoria, Seychelles.
Nigeria now have ten points from five games with a game left to play while South Africa remain second on nine points from the same number of games.