1 February 2014

Africa: Super Eagles Clinch Third Place

Photo: 2010 FIFA OC
A Super Eagles fan.

The Super Eagles clinched third place in the Chan tournament after beating a 10-man Zimbabwe 1-0 at Cape Town stadium on Saturday afternoon.

With very little incentive to play for, the match saw little creativity and when Zimbabwe Warriors were reduced to 10 men in the 17th minute, many predicted a glut of goals.

But some tight Zimbabwe defence and reckless shooting by Nigeria saw the Super Eagles scrapping home by a single goal which came late into the match.

There was little action until the 7th minute when Abubacar Ibrahim received a yellow card when he was adjudged to have dived in the penalty area though replays showed he had been clipped by Milton Ncube.

Both teams lacked the initiative although the Super Eagles looked a bit sharper and created the early openings.

And things got worse for Zimbabwe when Masimba Mambare was shown a straight red card by referee Victor Gomes in the 17th minute for a reckless lunge on the Nigerian keeper Chigozie Agbim though the decision looked a bit too harsh.

Abdullah Shehu then got a feel of Zimbabwe's robust tackling and had to receive treatment for a few minutes off the pitch.

Industrious Chinonso Abiozor then forced a smart save from George Chigova on the 36th minute when his blistering shot was parried back into play by the giant goalkeeper.

Enjoying numerical advantage, Nigeria looked the side more likely to break the deadlock but there was always the danger of being caught on the break.

Ibrahim again tested Chigova with another shot from just outside the box which narrowly went wide.

Zimbabwe continued to apply crunch tackles in a bid to slow down the swift Nigerian forwards and the ploy seemed to work.

Kwambe Solomon saw his long range free-kick fly over the bar as the Super Eagles started to show some frustrations.

In the 73rd minute, Chigova was shown the yellow card for time wasting as he continued to go down with injuries.

Christantus Ejike then waltzed his was past the Zimbabwe defence in the 78th minute but his angled shot was saved by Chigova.

Moments later, Ibrahim had another shot which did not trouble Chigova much as the big keeper literally kept Zimbabwe in the match.

On the 83rd minute, Kudakwashe Mahachi escaped the Super Eagles defence but the angle was too tight to beat Agbim.

Something had to give in and it came in the 85th minute when Chigova was finally beaten with a smart header from Obiozor following some good work on the right to make it 1-0 for Nigeria and the third place position.

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