The Super Eagles nearly delivered on that promise with a scintillating performance against the Pharaohs of Egypt in African Cup of Nations qualifier in Kaduna yesterday evening, after Oghenekaro Etebo had put Nigeria ahead in the 58th minute, sending the jam-paced Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna, into delirium, only for AS Roma’s Mohammed Salah to latch onto some sleepy defending from Nigeria’ s back-line to beat an off-side trap and send the ball over an on-rushing Carl Ikeme to leave scores at 1-1 in the 90th minute.
The Eagles, who spurned many chances to go top in the game, went close again in the 76th minute, when Victor Moses went clean on goal after he was released by debutante and Arsenal starlet Alex Iwobi, but his shot was cleared off the goal-line by Hamada Tolba. It was Nigeria’s biggest chance of the evening.
With the draw, Egypt remains on top of Group G with seven points, while Nigeria sit in second place with five points. Tanzania is third with four points, while Chad takes the rear without any win.
In spite of his side’s great showing in Kaduna yesterday evening, Super Eagles interim coach, Samson Siasia, has accepted the fact the his boys made a costly error by allowing the visiting Pharaohs of Egypt to escape with a damaging draw.
Save that, he rued, his side would have secured the maximum three-point lead ahead of the return leg in Alexandria next Tuesday, March 29.
“We have ourselves to blame for allowing the Egyptians to equalise. We lost concentration which I had warned them about, but we have taken positive steps from this game and, hopefully, we are also going to give our best in Egypt,” he promised.
The Nigerian side will jet out of the country to Egypt on Monday to honour the second leg of the qualifiers in Alexandria on Tuesday.
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