AFCON 2019: Nigeria knocks out defending champion Cameron

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria have ousted holders and bitter rivals Cameroon from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Saturday, July 6.

Super Eagles scored twice in three minutes to come from behind and win a thrilling last-16 match 3-2 in Alexandria, to knock out the defending champions who were resilient.

The Super Eagles eliminated Cameroon in the first knockout round the last time they were reigning champions in 2004, and their bid to repeat history looked on when Ighalo nudged Nigeria ahead with a scrappy opening goal after 19 minutes.

Moments after Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui powered a header over at the other end, Peter Etebo hooked a deep cross to the far post where it was driven back across goal by Omeruo and Ighalo stabbed home via a huge deflection that wrong-footed goalkeeper Andre Onana.

It was the first time Cameroon had conceded in Egypt, but after scoring just twice in three group games the Indomitable Lions matched that output in three frenzied minutes before half-time.

READ ALSO: AFCON 2019: Benin stuns Morocco, advance to Quarter Final

Bahoken pulled Cameroon level on 41 minutes when he ghosted in behind Omeruo to connect with a terrific whipped cross from Bassogog, and Njie soon fired them in front after outpacing Ola Aina to a flick-on, holding his nerve and balance to slip beyond Daniel Akpeyi.

Njie nearly got the better of Akpeyi early in the second half, Nigeria ‘keeper superbly clawing the ball out from just inside his post after the Marseille winger’s cutback was deflected towards goal.

Rohr introduced Samuel Chukwueze with an hour gone but it was Ighalo, the top scorer in qualifying, who came to the rescue once more with a thumping finish after Ahmed Musa chested a cross into his path.

Ighalo joined Senegal star Sadio Mane on a tournament-leading three goals and he played a key role in Iwobi’s decisive strike on 66 minutes, threading the ball through to the Arsenal winger to side-foot past Onana.

Ngadeu-Ngadjui toed wide at a corner but Cameroon struggled to threaten Nigeria in the closing stages with Ighalo denied a hat-trick late on as Onana plunged low to his right to knock away the forward’s header.

The win earned Nigeria a quarter-final place against hosts Egypt or South Africa who play later on Saturday.

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