Super Eagles squeeze into playoff spot following Cape Verde draw

Nigeria vs Cape Verde

The Super Eagles survived a scare at the hands of minnows Cape Verde on Tuesday.

A draw was enough to seal a place for the Nigerian team in the final round of qualifiers.

On Tuesday evening, the Super Eagles scraped through to the final round of the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar next year. The team secured a 1-1 draw with less fancied Cape Verde at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

Big question marks remain over the chances of the Super Eagles qualification for the World Cup next year. The star-studded team has had their credentials questioned in the past week leading to pessimism over the team’s chances.

A game to be forgotten

It has been a long time since Nigerian fans were put through the grinder, like on Tuesday evening when the Super Eagles took on Cape Verde. They were supposed to make short work of their guests, but they laboured to a 1-1 draw. The draw was enough to seal a place in the playoff round of the qualifiers.

It was less than a reassuring performance by the Super Eagles.

Needing just a point to qualify, the Super Eagles were straight off the mark as Napoli star Victor Osimhen put the home side in the lead inside the first minute.

Howver, Nigeria saw their lead pegged back with William Troost-Ekong culpable for Cape Verde’s equalizer. The Watford defender gave away an unnecessary corner, which made way for Stopira to power in a header in the fifth minute.

Nigeria could have retaken the lead but wasted scarce opportunities, with the returning Odion Ighalo making a meal of some gilt-edged chances.

Opportunities lost

The Super Eagles needed to calm the nerves of its fans, who were shocked by the Cape Verde equalizer and knew another goal would have sealed the team’s fate.

The team spurned as they went in search of another lead. Midway through the first half, Jamilu Collins found Al Shabab striker Odion Ighalo with a brilliant cut-back, which the 32-year-old striker mistimed. It was a sign that it was going to be a long evening for the Super Eagles.

Osimhen was next to locate Ighalo with a beautiful cross. Again, the former Watford striker was wasteful. He contrived to send his header off target.

Joe Aribo took his turn in poor finishing. His shot off an Osimhen pass was well saved by the Cape Verde goalkeeper.

A lack of opportunities in the second half emboldened the Blue Sharks, who went for blood and almost shocked their hosts, but Chidozie Awaziem did well to block a goalbound shot.

Question marks over Rohr

Gernot Rohr has contrived to serve some uninspiring performances with this Super Eagles team. The team has now failed to win their last two home games, with many questioning the German’s abilities to lead the Super Eagles to glory.

Nigeria will now play a two-legged playoff match in March 2022 to qualify for the World Cup. Gernot Rohr will now face the huge task of overseeing his side to overcoming their opponents to book a World Cup ticket.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 weeks ago

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