CAF African Nations Championship
Result: Nigeria 4-2 Mozambique
Date: 15 January 2014
Venue: Cape Town Stadium
A brace from Rabiu Ali helped Nigeria seal their first win in the 2014 CAF African Nations Championship as they ran out 4-2 winners over Mozambique in a Group A match at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.
It was a blistering start to the game as both sides looked to attack as they went in search of their first win in the competition.
The action was fast packed and produced four goals in a period of ten minutes.
The first goal came in the tenth minute as Dario Khan fired an unstoppable 35-yard free-kick past a stranded Nigerian keeper to give Mali the lead, 1-0.
Nigeria, though, were not to be outdone and hit back a minute later after some sloppy defence allowed Ifeanyi Ede to finish from close range, 1-1.
If that wasn’t enough, two minutes later and Nigeria took the lead, again as a result of some more poor defending that allowed Rabiu Ali to pick up a loose ball just outside the box which he duly fired home with some power, 2-1.
In the 20th minute Mozambique restored parity once more as António Alberto Diogo sprung the off-side trap and tucked the ball into an empty net after the Super Eagles goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim completely missed the ball which put him through on goal, 2-2.
After a frantic ten minutes the game quietened down a bit as both teams settled into their patterns of play.
Nigeria suffered a setback in the 32nd minute as Ogonna Uzochukwu had to leave the field injured and was replaced by Umar Zango.
The rest of the half saw both sides take a more cautious approach to the game as the teams entered the break tied at 2-2.
The start of the second 45 saw Nigeria applying all the pressure and they were rewarded for their efforts in the 52nd minute when the referee adjudged Dário Ivan Khan to have handled the ball inside the box.
Rabiu Ali stepped up and coolly slotted the penalty kick to give his side the lead for the second time on the night, 3-2.
Nigeria were not content with the one goal lead and continued to press forward. They were unlucky not to go two goals clear in the 76th minute when Fuad Gbolahan Salami saw an effort from 14-yards out beat the keeper, but cleared off the line by a defender.
Substitute Imenger Barnabas put the result beyond doubt in the 87th minute with a superb chip over the goalkeeper after being put through on goal by a pin-point pass, 4-2.
The win is Nigeria’s first of the tournament and sees them in third place in Group A on three points after South Africa and Mali played to a 1-1 draw earlier in the day that leaves them both on four points.
Mozambique prop up the bottom of the group with no points and cannot qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.
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