20 January 2014

Nigeria: Eagles Crush Bafana Bafana to Berth Q'Final

Photo: 2010 FIFA OC
Bafana fans

Nigeria's home-based Eagles Sunday revived their quest for the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) trophy with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over host South Africa. The victory sent the Eagles into the quarter final as runners-up of Group A with six points while the South Africans will have to wait till the next edition for another attempt at the cup.

Elsewhere on the night, fellow west Africans, Mali snatched a late winner through Idrissa Traore in their 2-1 defeat of Mozambique to top the group with seven points. The Mambas exited the tournament with no point from three matches.

Christantus Ejike opened the scoring for Nigeria in the 22nd minute, before Ifeanyi Ede scored the second - from the penalty spot - eight minutes later.

Ejike returned later to make it 3-0 for Eagles in the 63rd minute to put the result beyond doubt.

But Bernard Parker scored a consolation goal for the hosts, through a penalty in the 81st minute after Solomon Kwambe brought down Katlego Mashego in the box for his second yellow card that led to his being sent off.

Bafana Bafana needed only draw the game to make sure of their quarter-final place, and eliminate Nigeria in the process, but continued their poor string of results against the Super Eagles. They finished third in the group behind Nigeria and Mali.

The opening goal came from a defensive blunder after the back four were out of position as Ede played a square pass in for Ejike to tuck away in the 22nd minute.

The second goal was an error from Moeneeb Joseph, who had replaced injured captain Itumeleng Khune in goal, as he let an innocuous ball spill out of his hands and then, as he tied to retrieve the loose ball, brought down Nigeria's Gbolahan Salami. Ede converted the subsequent penalty to leave the Cape Town Stadium shell shocked after 32 minutes of play.

South Africa did conjour up chances for their 2010 World Cup hero, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Bernard Parker but were denied the chance to pull back one goal on the hour mark when Chigozie Agbim who was blamed for Nigeria's initial poor play in the tournament redeemed himself with brilliant saves.

He also denied a curling effort from Katlego Mashego, who was brought off after just 35 minutes to bolster the Bafana attack.

But any hopes of a comeback were thwarted by another brilliant goal in the 64th minute when a swift one-two involving Ejike and Salami saw the petit winger crash home a stunning goal.

Nigeria's Rabiu Ali struck the cross bar with a swirling over-the-shoulder effort in the 71st minute

Like Kwambe who picked up a second caution and was sent off, Vuyo Mere was also cautioned for a second time for a mistimed tackle and also had to go for an early shower to leave the team even with 10 players apiece.

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