Russia 2018: Nigerians Jubilate As Super Eagles Land In Russia
Nigeria News take a look at the qualification of the Super Eagles of Nigeria for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, the game, the fun and the victory.
With 13 points in five matches, the Super Eagles of Nigeria became the first team to qualify for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The country was thrown into wild jubilation Saturday evening after the Eagles defeated the scintillating Chipolopolo of Zambia. The Coppers Bullets were not pushover. They were equally good and a very hard nut to crack for the three-time African Champions.
Captained by John Obi Mikel, the Eagles waited patiently to steal a lone goal victory over the determined Zambians.
The first half ended in goalless with Zambians dominated the possession with 53 percent and Nigeria 47 percent. Both sides had created enough chances but failed to convert any.
It was obvious that the Zambians meant business from the start but all their moves were countered by the disciplined Nigeria defenders with Germany based defender Leon Balogun in control of the Eagles back four.
In the second half, the Zambians came forward on few occasions but the Nigeria midfielders rose to the occasion. They stepped up their game and dominated the Zambians with Victor Moses dazzling moves that rattled and cracked the defence of Chipolopolo.
Injured Ogenyi Onasi was replaced with Mikel Agu as Nigeria continued to pounce pressure on their visitors. The introduction of the Arsenal forward, Alex Iwobi changed the game totally with his deft passes that resulted into a goal on 73 minutes.
Alex Iwobi stole the victory for Nigeria with a low shot that beat the Zambian goalkeeper. Chipolopolo has never been an easy ride for the Eagles any time the two teams meet.
The two teams met in the Final of the Tunis 1994. Nigeria won the match by 2-1. It was one of the best African Cup of Nation Finals where quality skills were displayed.
One could remember the Kalusha Bwalya shot outside the 18-yard box that hit the bar. The Zambia captain beat the Nigeria Goalkeeper, Peter Rufai in a match that really tested the Clement Westahof’s Gangs.
In 2013 when Nigeria won the AFCON for the third time in South Africa, the Zambia fought back from one goal down to draw with the Super Eagles. It was a tough match that nearly sacked the Nigeria Coach, Stephen Keshi. He died about two years ago.
On Saturday, Nigeria qualified against all predictions that it would be difficult, having found itself in the group, and tagged the group of death that comprises of Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria. The four countries had won AFCON.
As a matter of fact, the current African Champions, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon were beaten silly by Super Eagles in Uyo and drew 1-1 in Yaounde.
Before Saturday, Nigeria had defeated Zambia by 2-1, Algeria 3-1. The Super Eagles’ victory on Saturday opened a new dawn in the history of the country football in which the team would not need to do any arithmetic permutation to qualify for world cup.
President Muhammadu Buhari had since congratulated the victorious Eagles as the journey to Russia 2018 FIFA Worl Cup began Saturday night from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.