African Nations Championship Quarter-Finals
Result: Morocco 3-4 Nigeria AET (3-3 FT)
Date: 25 January 2014
Venue: Cape Town Stadium
Nigeria staged a remarkable comeback from three goals down to beat Morocco 4-3 after extra-time at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening in their quarter-final clash and qualify for the semi-finals of the CHAN tournament.
Mohsine Moutaouali scored a brace for the Atlas Lions, while Mouhsinne Iajour scored the other to take a first half 3-0 lead.
But Nigeria staged a remarkable recovery in the second-half, Ugonna Uzochokwu and Rabiu Ali pulled goals back early in the half for the Super Eagles, before Ejike Uzoekyi was the hero again, equalising with a cracker in the 90th minute.
Substitute Ibrahim Abubakar grabbed the winner for Nigeria with ten minutes to go in extra-time, to seal their place in the semi-finals.
Morocco had a chance in the very first minute, when Mohsine Moutaouali broke down the right and took a shot, but Chigozie Agbim got down well and made the save at the near post.
In the 15th minute Morocco came close to taking the lead but Abdelkabir El Ouadi’s goal-bound goal was blocked and Nigeria were able to clear.
Two minutes later Ifeanyi Ede controlled the ball well and broke into Morocco’s box, but his final shot was sliced wide of goal.
Mouhsinne Iajour, who had shone for Raja Casablanca at the Fifa Club World Cup, had a chance in the 28th minute, but his shot from inside the box went across the face of goal and wide to the right.
Moutaouali made it 1-0 to Morocco in the 32nd minute, chipping the ball perfectly over a stranded Agbim.
Ede had a chance moments later to equalise for the ‘CHAN Eagles’ but his shot from inside the area went high and wide.
Gbolahan Salami had a chance from a tight angle in the 35th minute, but his shot went just wide of goal.
Iajour doubled the lead in the 37th minute from a free kick, curling the ball with his right foot to beat Agbim at the near post.
Morocco made it 3-0 in the 40th minute, their third in a seven minute goal frenzy, when Motaouali finished off a good move to get his second goal.
Ugonna Uzochokwu got Nigeria off to the best possible start in the second-half when he pulled one back in the 49th minute, poking it past Nadir Lamyahgri to make it 3-1.
Rabiu Ali made it 3-2 in the 55th minute, smashing the ball in from the edge of the area past a helpless Lamyaghri, and the comeback looked on the cards.
Morocco had a chance in the 62nd minute through Andsessamad Rafik, but his headed attempt was well saved by Agbim
In the 66th minute substitute Ibrahim Abubakar came close to equaling, but his curled effort from the the left of goal, went narrowly over.
Issam Eraki forced a good save from Agbim in the 71st minute from a set piece, Agbim grabbing the ball as it headed towards the top left corner.
Rafik had an attempt for Morocco in the 84th minute, but his shot from outside the box went straight to Agbim.
Nigeria continued to push for an equaliser in the last five minutes, and in the 88th minute Uzochukwu got onto the end of Ali’s free kick, but his header went over the goal.
Ejike Uzoekyi, the hero of the game against South Africa, found that equaliser in the 90th minute, hitting a wonderful shot from just outside the area into the top left corner to make it 3-3.
Substitute Barnabas Imenger had a chance to win it for Nigeria in regulation time, but he skied his shot from just inside the box, and the game went into extra time.
Uzoenyi tried from a tight angle and forced a save from Layaghri in the 96th minute.
In the 99th minute Ali had a great chance from an Unzoenyi cross to head the ball home, but his effort went narrowly wide of the goal.
Just before-the break in extra-time Iajour had a great chance to give Morocco the lead, but his effort from close range narrowly missed.
Nigeria complete ana amazing comeback win when they grabbed a 4-3 lead in the 111th minute when Abubakar pounced on the ball after Lamyaghri spilled Uzoenyi’s cross, and he made no mistake from close range.
This is how they started:
Morocco: Nadir Lamyaghri, Zakaria El Hachimi, Mohamed Abarhoun, Mohamed Oulhaj, Zaid Krouch, Said Fettah, Issam Erraki, Mohsine Moutaouali, Abdessamad Rafik, Abdelkabir El Ouadi, Mouhsinne Iajour
Nigeria: Chigozie Agbim, Ugonna Uzochokwu, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Odunlami Kunle, Erhun Obanor, Bright Eseme, Rabiu Ali, Abullahi Shehu, Ejike Uzoenyi, Gbolahan Salami, Ifeanyi Ede