Wednesday, October 15, 2014 7:19 pm
Ahmed Musa scored twice to help Nigeria overcome Sudan 3-1 and keep alive the African Champions’ chance of reaching the 2015 African Cup of Nations in a qualifying match played this evening in Abuja.
Great pressure was on the Super Eagles to recover from a torrid start to the qualifying campaign which had seen Nigeria lose two of its opening three matches including the reverse fixture at Sudan last weekend in Khartoum.
With that in mind, interim coach Stephen Keshi made a number of changes to the team that lost at Sudan and just like in that encounter, the Super Eagles began the match this evening in fast pace but failing to find the breakthrough.
Debutante Aaron Samuel had two chances go begging while Ahmed Musa was denied by Sudan goalkeeper Akram El-Hadi as Nigeria dominated proceedings early on.
Vincent Enyeama made two saves for Nigeria as the visitors gradually found their foot in the course of the first half, with both sides best chances coming just before half-time.
Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi was however denied by El-Hadi while Sudan’s first leg hero Elgadir shot wide after finding himself one-on-one with Enyeama moments later at the other end.
Following the goalless first half, CSKA Moscow forward Musa, who turned 22 today, put the Super Eagles ahead three minutes into the second half when he finished off a pass from Mikel.
It took the visitors eight minutes to equalise however through Salah Ibrahim’s freekick and after Emmanuel Emenike was denied from a freekick a minute later, Aaron Samuel restored Nigeria’s lead in the 65th minute when he latched on to a spilled Mikel cross by El-Hadi.
Birthday boy Ahmed Musa made sure of the crucial win for Stephen Keshi’s side with a goal deep in stoppage time, dispossessing a Sudanese defender before shooting past El-Hadi.
The win is Nigeria’s first in the qualifying series and takes the Super Eagles off the bottom of Group A with four points, a point ahead of Sudan and three behind leaders South Africa who host Congo in another qualifying match tonight.
With matches against South Africa and Congo still to come, Nigeria will book a place at next year’s Nations Cup by winning its remaining two matches, regardless of the result in tonight’s other group match.
Meanwhile in other qualifying matches completed this evening, Ghana and Cameroun maintained top spot in their respective groups, with the Black Stars getting a 3-1 win over Guinea in Group E while Cameroun won 2-0 at home to Sierra Leone in Group D.