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Four goal surge helps Niger overcome early deficit in decisive victory over Djibouti

A scrappy performance by unheralded Djibouti saw them take a shock lead in the first half against Niger, but the Ménas stormed back after the halftime break to score four unanswered goals on their way to a 4-2 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory on Monday. Victorien Adebayor and substitute  Amadou Sabo did their part to aid the Nigerien comeback effort by contributing to three goals as Djibouti’s defense fell apart. The three points allows Niger to move back towards contention in Group A while Djibouti continues to look like long shots in their quest to earn a point.

Djibouti showed quite a bit of pluck and ability to match in the first half, allowing the Shoremen of the Red Sea to surprise their opponents in an assigned “home” match that took place in Rabat, Morocco. After getting their footing and holding off a sluggish Nigerien attack, the hosts produced some good football to put themselves into a shock lead. A 32nd minute buildup down the left flank opened up room for a cross and the low ball was spilled by veteran Niger goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly, allowing Anas Ali to storm in an finish into an empty net.

Niger manager Jean-Michel Cavalli clearly gave his charges an earful at halftime, because the Ménas were a new team in the second half. Substitute Sabo came in just before halftime and he joined Adebayor in being a constant threat to the goal. The leveler came in the 49th minute when a clever ball from Ali Mohamed sent Adebayor in on goal, and the Legon Cities striker made no mistake slotting his shot past Djiboutian keeper Innocent Hankuye.

Seven minutes later it was Adebayor again who put Niger in front for good. Once again he was sent in alone with the keeper, this time from service provided by Sabo, for a calm finish to complete his brace. The 65th minute put Niger well beyond reach when Adebayor was tripped just inside the Djiboutian penalty area, allowing Horoya AC midfielder Amadou Wonkoye to dispatch a penalty kick by sending Hankuye the wrong way.

Adebayor once again was on the run with the Djibouti defense exposed three minutes after Wonkoye’s penalty kick, and Adebayor sent a pass to Sabo who unleashed an excellent curled shot from eighteen yards out to make it four unanswered goals. A red card came for Niger in the 84th minute, but the deficit was too much for Djibouti to overcome, though they finished the match off on a positive note with Warsama Said’s beautiful free kick goal in the 90th minute.

Highlights of the match are in the link below.

FIFA TV Highlights


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