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Nigeria withstand push from Cape Verde to draw in Lagos and win Group C

It was an unconvincing performance but Nigeria just advanced to the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying as Group C winners following a 1-1 draw against Cape Verde in Lagos on Tuesday. The Super Eagles opened the scoring through Victor Osimhen in the opening minute but after Stopira equalized for the visitors soon after, the home crowd had to endure a tense eighty plus minutes before Nigeria’s spot in the next round was confirmed. Nigeria advance with a total of thirteen points while Cape Verde finish in second place with eleven.

The crowd in Lagos were celebrating soon after kickoff when a defensive error allowed Nigeria to open the scoring just before the first minute had elapsed. A cross into the Cape Verdean box from Moses Simon led to center back Roberto Lopes inadvertently flicking a header right to Osimhen, who took advantage and beat goalkeeper Vozinha from close range to put the hosts into the lead.

Nigeria’s lead was very short lived as the Blue Sharks found their way back into the match via a 5th minute corner kick. Kenny Rocha Santos sent in a well struck delivery and full back Stopira snuck inside of Nigeria center back William Troost-Ekong before hitting a sliding volley that snuck by Maduka Okoye before the goalkeeper could react. The Super Eagles attempted to restore their advantage before the half but Cape Verde goalkeeper Vozinha and off target shooting denied chances for Joe Aribo and Odion Ighalo.

The second half was evenly played between the two teams and was far too close for comfort for Nigerian fans, but despite failing to generate many opportunities at home, the defense of the Super Eagles held out relatively comfortably. Cape Verde’s early goal was the team’s only shot on target and the Blue Sharks failed to generate a single shot on the Nigerian goal in the second half. However, after a couple of opportunities during the campaign to move beyond reach of their group opponents, the Nigerian fanbase and footballing leadership will not be too pleased with how closely their team came to being eliminated from qualifying.

Highlights of the match are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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