Nigeria’s Super Eagles of Nigeria have qualified for the Qatar 2022 World Cup play-off after playing out a 1-1 draw with Cape Verde at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Tuesday.
The result, although very disappointing to millions of Nigerian football fans, proved enough to earn the three-time African champions a place in the final round of qualifiers for the global showpiece event.
The Gernot Rohr-led squad made a promising start to the game as in-form Napoli striker Victor Osimhen controlled a cross from Moses Simon and slotted home in the opening minute, but the islanders hit back four minutes later when defender Stopira headed in a corner kick and the remaining 84 minutes of the match was a nerve-wrecking encounter.
Cape Verde keeper Vozinha made several saves in the first half to deny the hosts and the Blue Sharks almost pulled off an upset – with Nigeria defender Chidozie Awaziem making a crucial late block.
Nigeria needed just a draw while Cape Verde had to win out rightly for a chance to qualify to their first World Cup.
The first half was nervy as both sides sought to score the second goal but that was not to be with the game being a nerve-wrecking encounter.
Despite the 66% possession and with four shots on target, the Nigerian side were unable to increase the scoreline.
Nigeria has participated in all FIFA World Cup final tournaments since its debut in 1994 in the United States of America except the 2006 finals in Germany that she missed narrowly after FIFA opted to use the head-to-head rule in the qualifying campaign, which favoured Angola.