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Nigeria bounce back to avenge shock defeat by winning 2-0 over CAR in Douala

Leon Balogun and Victor Osimhen were the goal scorers for Nigeria as the Super Eagles got revenge on Les Fauves of Central African Republic, winning 2-0 in Cameroon to further secure their lead at the top of FIFA World Cup qualifying Group C. Nigeria now have nine points from four games and lead nearest challengers Cape Verde by five points, while Central African Republic are tied with Cape Verde on four points but are all but mathematically eliminated from qualifying contention.

After their loss on Thursday to CAR led to fan unrest and a storm of criticism, it was a must that Nigeria respond with victory in the return fixture and their cause was helped by CAR’s stadium situation which meant the match was played in Cameroon. The early stages were not necessarily promising as it took the Super Eagles a while to find their rhythm and figure out how to break down the CAR bunker.

However, direct play was what got Nigeria on the board to the relief of their supporters in the 29th minute. A long throw from the left touchline was cleared by the CAR defense, where the Nigerians collected the ball. A pass laid back to Chidozie Awaziem led to a floating diagonal cross that did not appear to be too dangerous on first look, but the CAR defense was not well organized and Leon Balogun latched on for a well volleyed finish. Balogun, the center back who made the crucial error with a misplay in the prior match, had stayed forward following the long throw and scored his first goal since the 2018-19 English Premier League season with Brighton.

Poor defending on direct play doomed CAR again at a crucial moment just before halftime to put Nigeria beyond reach. Left back Jamilu Collins lobbed in a ball from the wing that was sloppily dealt with as CAR keeper Prince Samolah weakly slapped the ball clear just beyond the edge of the penalty area. Joe Aribo collected and played out wide to William Troost-Ekong, who sent in a sharp low cross that found Victor Osimhen for an easy finish as Samolah struggled to scramble back into position.

CAR were dangerous last match as a scoreless match wore on, but did not have the ability to play themselves back into the match now that they faced a deficit. Osimhen should have scored another in the second half when Aribo continued his excellent display by playing in the Napoli forward, but after rounding Samolah, Osimhen was denied by a remarkable effort from CAR captain Saint-Cyr Ngam Ngam.

Highlights of the match are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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