On the second day of AFCON, 2023 final group stage matches with the Super Eagles heavily invested, it was filled with suspense and drama as the Round of 16 foes of the Nigerian side kept oscillating.
Following a 1-0 win over Ivory Coast, Nigeria completed its business on Monday when it secured a 1-0 victory over the Djurtus of Guinea Bissau to book a place in the second round.
Despite the victory, they finished second behind a rampant Equatorial Guinea side that had scored four goals in two consecutive matches, with the second a 4-0 win over the hosts Ivory Coast.
After a suspense-filled evening, the indomitable Lions of Cameroon emerged as the Round of 16 opponents of the Super Eagles with a 3-2 win over Gambia.
How Cameroon emerged as Super Eagles foes
Going into the final day of Group C matches, Senegal was top of the table, but a loss to Guinea could see them finish second and a date with the Super Eagles.
Cameroon also had a chance of finishing above Guinea if they beat Gambia, and Senegal defeated Guinea by at least two goals.
Everything looked set for a Nigeria vs Guinea clash to rehash their pre-tournament friendly until the game's final ten minutes.
The drama started when Gambia took a 2-1 lead against Cameroon to move into third in the group.
The Indomitable Lions had been docile since the beginning of the tournament, but the five-time champions roared back to life when they got an 87th-minute equalizer.
Why is Nigeria playing Cameroon in Round of 16? 2nd playing 2nd? Has the rule changed? Well, the two teams have been so terrible in this #AFCON2023 Onana should not come and be showing Mike Tyson for us next week o. – Chelsea Mr Tinubu Onigbese Mane Osogbo Rigobert Song Gbaja Ten… pic.twitter.com/4IHPaRr9C1
— ÓLÀdeyforyou (@trendwithola) January 23, 2024
It wasn't enough to put Cameroon in second place or get a ticket to the second round.
The scales finally tipped in favour of the Indomitable Lions to set up a date with the Super Eagles on Saturday, when they moved into the lead with a third goal a minute into added time,e and Senegal got its second goal against Guinea.
With Senegal leading 2-0 and Cameroon 3-2, the Indomitable Lions moved into second place and will now play the Super Eagles in the Round of 16 on Saturday.
Super Eagles vs Cameroon – What to expect
The Super Eagles are no strangers to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, but the Cameroon side that had greats like Samuel Eto and coached by a legend – Rigobert Song, have not been at the peak of their powers.
The Super Eagles have a decent record against Cameroon in recent competitive outings.
The last time Cameroon beat Nigeria was in a friendly in 2021. It is also worth noting that the Super Eagles have never lost an AFCON game to Cameroon that was not the final.
They have met three times in AFCON knockout rounds, with the Super Eagles winning them all.
Nigeria vs Cameroon in the AFCON Round of 16 on Saturday
Who is winning ? pic.twitter.com/seZEHtMkI0
— Dr Iszzy🏧💦 (@iszzyiniho1) January 23, 2024
At AFCON 92, Nigeria won 2-1, 2-1 in 2004 and 3-2 in 2019. It will make for an interesting watch as old rivalries are rekindled.
Peseiro has his hands full and must find answers to a strike force that has been misfiring. One consolation the Super Eagles can take into the game is their defence, which has conceded only one goal from three matches.
However, the Indomitable Lions have conceded six goals, showing a lax defence.
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 weeks ago