CAR shock Nigeria to re-ignite 2022 World Cup hope

Nigeria’s senior football national team, the Super Eagles, Thursday evening suffered a shock 0-1 defeat to low-rated Central African Republic side in Day 3 encounter of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifying game played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.

The Super Eagles came into the game with two victories from two games and were widely predicted to outrun the visiting CAR side. But Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles side rendered a poor display and struggled to convert their chances in both halves, despite dominating the game.

Karl Namnganda’s stoppage-time shocker, after a defensive slip-up, took the Super Eagles and the sparse crowd, as well as scores of millions watching on television by surprise, handed CAR three points in a crucial World Cup qualifying tie.

Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Victor Osimhen, Chidera Ejuke,Taiwo Awoniyi, Ahmed Musa and Samuel Kalu, threw everything at the Les Fauves, but the visitors defended in numbers and goalkeeper Prince Samolah had an inspired game.

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In the 16th minute, Victor Osimhen got too much purchase on his first touch and saw goalkeeper Samolah scoop the ball, and seven minutes later, Ngam-Ngam came to the rescue for a timely block as the Napoli of Italy man was about to pull the trigger.

In the 29th minute, Nigeria had a strident penalty appeal rejected by referee Abdel Aziz Bouh from Mauritania, when it appeared the ball clipped the hand of Ndokomandji after a shot by Chidera Ejuke.

Ejuke ran, turned, dribbled, sizzled and shielded the ball in a creditable performance, but his efforts and those of his team-mates failed to yield the much-needed goal until disaster struck in stoppage time.

Nigeria remain top of Group C with six points from three matches, Central African Republic move to second position, two points behind Super Eagles side after registering their first win. Cape Verde, with 4 points are third and Liberia sit bottom of the group on three points.

Super Eagles will travel to face CAR in the reverse fixture at their Doula Cameroon makeshift home ground on Sunday, October 10.

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