SA, Nigeria draw in Uyo thriller
from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
LAGOS – SOUTH Africa squandered a two-goal lead to play to a 2-2 draw against nemesis Nigeria at the Akwa Ibom Stadium in Uyo on Wednesday evening.
The point nonetheless failed to secure Nigeria straight qualification for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea after Congo beat Sudan 1-0 to book the second available berth in Group A.
South Africa had booked their berth a few days earlier.
Tokelo Rantie and Sone Aluko stole the show for South Africa and Nigeria respectively at the Akwa Ibom Stadium by scoring braces.
The game went off to a frenetic start at the pegged stadium with two chances earlier on, the first falling to South Africa but Rantie blazed over when it seemed easier to score.
Ahmed Musa got a similar chance at the end but his effort crashed against the bar with Daren Keet well beaten.
It was Musa posing problems again in the visitors’ area but Keet pulled of two fantastic blocks to deny him.
The game came alive in the 43rd minute with solo effort from Rantie who made up for his earlier miss.
The English-based striker sliced through a flatfooted Super Eagles side to beat Vincent Enyeama via the near post to silence the home crowd.
Ike Uche wasted a glorious opportunity to equalise when he skied his effort from inside the penalty box.
The home side’s woes were to worsen early in the second half when the rampant Rantie scored another beauty, gliding through a disappointing Nigeria defence before roundong off Enyeama to feed an empty net.
The hosts responded in the 68 minute when Aluko, pulled one back after stabbing in a reminder after earlier effort bounced off the post as Nigeria sought to salvage something from the tie.
The visitors suffered another blow in the 71st minute when midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane was sent for an early shower after a second bookable offence.
Nigeria made the most of their numerical advantage when Aluko drew them them level at the death.
– CAJ News
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