By Akinwale Kasali
Two goals in a space of three minutes gave the Super Eagles a 3-2 victory over their arch-rivals, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in their Round of 16 encounter at the on-going 2019 African Cup of Nations championship in Egypt.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria drew the first blood in the 17th minute with a goal mouth scramble goal that saw Odion Jude Ighalo registering his second goal in the competition, to put the West African giants in the lead.
Kenneth Omeruo and William Troost Ekong who marshalled the Eagles defence, couldn’t absorb the pressure coming from the Cameroonians, succumbed to the attacking force of the Cameroonians spearheaded by Chupo-moting.
Two quick goals from David Bahoken and Clinton Njie in the 41st and 43rd saw the Lions taking a 2-1 lead into the break.
The Super Eagles never rested on their oars, but went on to pile more pressure on their opponents which later paid off after the introduction of Villarreal Football Club of Spain youngster, Samuel Chukwueze, who combined well with the attackers to get Nigeria the equaliser.
Ighalo and Alex Iwobi scored the second and third goals to defeat the 2017 AFCON Champions, thus, eliminating them from the competition.
In the other Round of 16 encounter of the day, host, Pharaohs of Egypt were defeated by the Bafana Bafana of South Africa 1-0, courtesy of Peter Lorch strike in the 84th minutes of the match.
With this victory, the former apartheid nation will face the Super Eagles in the second quarter final match on Wednesday, 10th July, 2019.
Nigeria and South Africa will rekindle their rivalry, having been grouped alongside during the AFCON qualifiers, with Nigeria topping the group, though, the Super Eagles lost to the Start Baxter South African side 2-0 at the Uyo International Stadium, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria, on the first day of the qualifiers, seeing South Africa register first competitive victory over Nigeria.
The South Africans will be looking forward to a repeat of that when both teams clash at the Cairo International Stadium to see who books the Semi-Final ticket at the competition.
The last time Nigeria met South Africa at the AFCON tournament was in 2014 in Tunisia. Nigeria defeated South Africa 4-0 with goals from Joseph Yobo, Austin Okocha and a brace from Peter Osaze Odemwengie.
Both teams also met at the Semi-Final of the 2000 AFCON tournament co-hosted by Nigeria and Ghana. Again, Nigeria defeated South Africa 2-0 with both goals scored by Tijani Babangida.
Coach Gernot Rohr said the victory has boosted the morale of his players and they are looking forward to the clash against the Bafana Bafana on Wednesday, promising not to leave any stone unturned to actualise victory.