An extraordinary own goal in the second half gave the Super Eagles a 2-1 victory over a plucky Cape Verde team on Tuesday in a matchday 2 of a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier played in Mindelo.

Gernot Rohr and the Super Eagles knew it was going to be a tricky encounter away to Cape Verde, especially because of the artificial turf but the Eagles controlled the tempo to escape with all three points that keep them top of Group C in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with the maximum six points from two matches.

The Blue Sharks took the lead in the first half through Dylan Tavares in the 19th minute. While Moses Simon dithered in tracking Tavares, goalkeeper Maduka Okoye did not cover himself in a lot of glory as he was beaten at his near post.

The Eagles had largely controlled the tempo of the match-slowing it down to almost walking pace to frustrate the Islanders. Chidera Ejuke shot at goal in the 26th minute as the Eagles ramped up the pressure and pinned Cape Verde in their half.

Three minutes later-in the 29th minute, Victor Osimhen pounced on a mistake in the Cape Verde box to equalise. Credit must be given to Jamilu Collins, through whose persistence down the left flank created confusion in the Cape Verde box.

The Eagles believed they should have been awarded a penalty in the 42nd minute when Cape Verde captain put his foot on Chidozie Awaziem’s head in the box. It was a definite foul-a high foot- but the referee waved play on. Awaziem needed treatment on the pitch.

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The second half was more of the same with the Eagles dictating the tempo through Kingsley Michael and Chidera Ejuke, whose combination with Collins caused Cape Verde all kinds of problems all match.

Cape Verde almost equalised in the 88th minute when Patrick Andrade flung himself at a long diagonal but pressure from Shehu Abdullahi meant he could not direct his effort past a flailing Maduka, who had stepped off his line.

Cape Verde piled on the pressure in the closing moments and a goal-bound header was comfortably saved by Okoye a minute into added time. Kenneth Omeruo was shown a yellow card for a foul on Jamilo Monteiro as the Eagles defended for their lives.

A free-kick late in the game was skewed wide as the Eagles held on for three precious points.

The Eagles’ next matches are against the Central African Republic in October in what will be back-to-back encounters.


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