Nigeria secured a lifeline on Wednesday in the African Nations Championship when the Super Eagles defeated the Mambas of Mozambique 4-2 to claim their first points of the tournament.
The Eagles B who had earlier lost 2-1 to the Eagles of Mali on Saturday did little in the opening minutes to test the Mambas goalkeeper.
The Mozambicans drew the first blood in the 10th minute when Dario Khan hit the target with a long range shot from a little off the centre mark which the Eagle’s goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim, did little to save. Agbim who was still communicating with his defenders when the shot was fired was clearly off the line and paid the penalty dearly.
Nigeria responded immediately when Ifeanyi Ede scored in the 11th minute off a flick from a throw in.
The Eagles then took the lead in the 13th minute when a Rabiu Ali shot from outside the eighteen yard box could only be tipped into the net by the Mozambican goalkeeper, Victor Soares.
The Mozambicans began piling pressure on the shaky Eagles defence and made several incursions which paid off in the 20th minute when Alberto Diogo capitalised on a defensive mistake to round off Agbim sprawling on the floor and give them the equalizer.
The Eagles came back after the break more organised and well composed. They began to press the Mozambican defence and gave little room for mistakes.
Their efforts yielded a penalty kick which was awarded by referee Aboubacar Mario Bangouri in the 53rd minute after a scramble in the Mozambican goal area. The spot kick was taken accurately by Rabiu Ali to earn himself his second goal of the match and the third for the Nigerian side.
The Eagles continued pressing forward and wasted a lot of chances the most prominent coming in the 78th minute when man of the match, Ejike Uzoenyi, sent a clear cut chance over the bar after a lovely footwork by the team.
The point was secured in the 88th minute when substitute, Barnabas Imenger, chipped the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper after he was left unmarked by the Mozambican defence.
The Eagles will now face the tournament’s host, South Africa, who also played a 1-1 draw with Mali, on Sunday by 7:00pm. The Nigerians need a win to qualify for the next stage as South Africa and Mali have already garnered four points each to Nigeria’s three points.