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Nigeria 3-2 Cameroon: 3 Reasons why the Super Eagles beat the Indomitable Lions | Africa Cup of Nations 2019

Nnanna Mba
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
242   //    07 Jul 2019, 07:14 IST

Ighalo was the star of the night
Ighalo was the star of the night

This round of 16 clash between Nigeria and Cameroon was one of the most exciting games in the tournament.

With the Cameroon attack not being able to score a single goal since their first group game, and the Super Eagles losing to a lower-ranked Madagascar, both teams needed to switch things up in this round of 16.

Gernot Rohr made five important changes that have truly reflected on the scoreboard, with Seedorf making three changes.

The fans were in for a thrilling match-up! Three goals within the first half, with two scored in three minutes.

Two goals within the second half, scored another three minutes apart. The tension was palpable and clear on fans and players of both sides, but this was certainly one of the most exciting games for many neutrals.

It was a terrific atmosphere in the Alexandria stadium, and thanks to the cooler temperatures, the game began fast-paced with Nigeria getting a corner in 15 seconds.

By the tenth minute, there wasn't a shot at goal, and the game's tempo had reduced. Cameroon got into their zone early on and started bossing possession. Notably, the Indomitable Lions held the ball more than the Super Eagles for the first 40 minutes.

After a number of loose passing and inablility of either side to play attractive football, Nigeria's first goal came in the 19th minute, thanks to a fast-reacting Odion Ighalo.

While it was mostly luck - as the shot deflected before getting in - and poor defending from the Lions who couldn't seem to clear the ball, Ighalo's fast reaction to Omeruo's pass led to a scruffy first goal.

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With an exciting turn of events, the Indomitable Lions turned the scoreboard around in the 40th and 43rd minute. A brilliant cross by Christian Bassagog gave Bahoken the ball on a platter, and he tapped it past the keeper and into the net.

Three minutes later, Bahoken's through ball to Clinton N'Jie was beautifully slotted into the goal after the Marseille forward dribbled past Ola Aina and rushed into the penalty area.

Nigeria would have their fans to thank as the sounds of their dancing, singing, and trumpeting cheered the Super Eagles on.

The second half started with the Indomitable Lions holding on to possession, but not for long, as the Super Eagles bossed the game and scored another two goals in three minutes to equalize and then win the game.

A brilliant move by Nigeria in the 63rd minute saw Ahmed Musa chest the ball into Ighalo's way. The strong forward popped in his second goal of the game with a close range volley. Arsenal's Alex Iwobi got his name on the scoresheet only three minutes later. A clever pass from Ighalo into the path of the young Gunner was all that was needed to put the Super Eagles ahead as Iwobi fired a composed shot past Andre Onana.

With the Super Eagles' effective game management and strong defence, the Indomitable Lions remained unable to equalize, and will be heading home in defeat.

The Nigerians, however, will face South Africa in the quarter-finals of the African Cup Of Nations 2019.

We take a look at three reasons why the Super Eagles won the game.


#3 Rugged determination combined with tactical brilliance by Nigeria

While the Indomitable Lions held all the possession, the Super Eagles took charge of the most important aspect of any football game - the scoreline.

Arguably, Nigeria had only four shots on target from all of 16, but the Cameroonians had three from 12 in total. The Super Eagles ended up with a conversion rate of 18%, scoring three goals in 16 shots, while the Lions had a conversion rate of 16%. So it's clear that most of the shooting from both sides were sporadic.

The first goal may have been luck shining upon the Super Eagles, but they certainly took the game in their stride to comeback in the second half after finishing the first half with two conceded goals.

Rugged determination and tactical brilliance halfway through the second half led to two brilliant goals.

Both opportunties could have gone wrong at any moment, but the Super Eagles were set to find the equalizer and the winning goal.

They made seamless passes that cut through a flailing Cameroon defence and the team would be proud of their first solid outing.

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