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Nigeria 3-2 Cameroon: 5 Talking Points | 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

Elvis Ume O
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
495   //    07 Jul 2019, 06:58 IST

Nigeria have qualified for the quarterfinals of the 2019 African Cup of Nations
Nigeria have qualified for the quarterfinals of the 2019 African Cup of Nations

In what was undoubtedly the biggest clash of the second round, Nigeria and Cameroon locked horns at the Alexandria Stadium for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Both nations are among the heavyweights on the continent, having won eight Nations Cup titles between them with Nigeria's latest triumph coming in 2013 while Cameroon are defending champions.

The central African nation booked their spot in this stage courtesy of a second place finish in group F, while Nigeria also finished as runners up to Madagascar in Group B.

In light of their victory against their fierce rivals, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have booked their spot in the last eight and would now face off in Cairo on July 10 against South Africa for a place in the last four.

A brace by Odion Ighalo and a calm finish from Alex Iwobi was enough to see Nigeria complete a comeback victory and in this piece, we shall be highlighting five talking points from the African Cup Of Nations 2019.


#5 Odion Ighalo saves the day for Nigeria

Ighalo was the star of the show
Ighalo was the star of the show

Ever since Odion Ighalo made his international debut for Nigeria in March 2015, he has not really been many people's cup of tea, as a lot of fans saw his profligacy in front of goal as harmful to Nigeria's chances of success.

This loathing reached an all-time high at the 2018 World Cup where the 30-year-old missed a number of chances, before coming out to state that he seriously considered quitting the national team after he allegedly received death threats, with his wife coming out on social media to blast his critics.

However despite the widespread consternation, coach Gernot Rohr stuck with him and the former Watford man repaid his coach's faith handsomely. Ighalo was the star in the Nations Cup qualifying rounds with six goals to finish as the highest goalscorer and help his country qualify for the Nations Cup for the first time since 2013.

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He has continued from where he left off in the ongoing tournament, scoring the only goal in Nigeria's opening match against Burundi. But Ighalo faced backlash over his decision to shoot at goal when teammate Ahmed Musa was in a better position in the second game against Guinea.

However in Nigeria's toughest game so far, the Shanghai Shenhua forward was undoubtedly the star of the show as he opened the scoring in the 19th minute off a deflection by Yaya Banana, before equalizing in the 63rd minute with a well taken finish.

Just three minutes later, he was instrumental in Nigeria taking the lead as he played in a perfectly weighted through ball for teammate Alex Iwobi to finish with aplomb.

In what was a complete center-forward's performance, Odion Ighalo was hugely instrumental in Nigeria qualifying for the quaterfinals and 200 million of his compatriots back home would be hoping he can keep up with the good form to see them all the way to their fourth Nations Cup triumph.

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