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Nigeria vs Cameroon: Five things we learned

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Nigeria’s forward Odion Ighalo celebrates his second goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Nigeria and Cameroon at the Alexandria Stadium in the Egyptian city on July 6, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

Odion Ighalo’s brace and Alex Iwobi’s second-half goal against Africa Cup of Nations holders Cameroon sealed qualification for Super Eagles to the quarter-finals.

Iwobi finished clinically from Ighalo’s pass to complete the comeback to edge the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at the Alexandria Stadium, Egypt.

Odion Ighalo gave Nigeria the lead in the 19th minute, courtesy an assist from Kenneth Omeruo. Cameroon equalised in the 41st minute to spark belief Clarence Seedorf’s side. Stéphane Bahoken got on the end of a cross from Christian Bassogog. Clinton Njié clinched the second three minutes later stealing ahead of Ola AIna before finishing past Daniel Akpeyi. Another goal from Ighalo levelled the score in the 63rd minute and three minutes later Iwobi scored the third to put Nigeria through.

Here are five things we learned from the 3-2 comeback win in Saturday’s thrilling AFCON last-16 clash between the rivals.

Goal-shy duo produces a five-goal thriller

The West African derby, as expected, was an eye-catching encounter. Both teams had scored just two goals in the AFCON but came to produce a thrilling five-goal game with the lead yo-yoing between them. Cameroon had not scored in their last two games but produced two goals in one half after going behind.

Ighalo comes up good
Another sparkling performance from the Shanghai Greenland Shenhua club striker Odion Ighalo. The striker notched a brace against a Cameroon defence that had not conceded in the competition. Both goals, quick first-time finishes, showed his instincts and his nose for goal. He turned provider for the winner, slotting through Ngadeu’s legs to put Iwobi through on goal. He is no doubt the Man of Match again.

Spirited comeback shows Super Eagles’ desire
Heading into the break behind after getting the first goal could be deflating. The Super Eagles showed spirit to fight back and get in front. They stepped up and worked out ways to get the ball into the attack. The attack did more work in the last quarter of the game to provide two goals in less than five minutes. Kudos to the comeback spirit!

Super Eagles still with cracks
The comeback showed the Super Eagles’ spirit but also highlighted cracks in the side. Despite the three goals, the route to goal is still muddied while the defence isn’t as water-tight as imagined. The long passes from the Cameroon side really exposed the Super Eagles’ weakness in dealing with aerial balls. The team barely scrapped through the assaults of long passes. Rohr needs to build the team for a stronger opponent in the quarter-final crash.

Feisty Cameroon fall short
It could have gone the way of the Indomitable Lions but they slipped at crucial times. After battling into the lead from a goal down, the team took the foot off the gas and got loose defensively especially for Nigeria’s winner.


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