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BREAKING NEWS: 7 times Super Eagles, Indomitable Lions have clashed at AFCON



The Super Eagles are looking forward to recreating their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 defeat of Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in Alexandria, when both teams clash in Abidjan on Saturday at the same stage in the ongoing 34th edition of the competition.……CONTINUE READING>>>

That day, at the Alexandria Stadium in Egypt, the Eagles came from 1-2 down to defeat the Cup holders 3-2 and reach the quarter-finals.

Odion Ighalo scored two of the goals, with Alex Iwobi, who is currently in Abidjan and is expected to play a determining role on Saturday, netting the winner.

Captain Ahmed Musa, defenders William Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo, Ola Aina and Chidozie Awaziem, and forward Moses Simon, who are also in Abidjan, were involved in that encounter in North Africa.

“That game was a tough duel and brought out the best in us, especially when we went 1-2 down despite scoring first. In the dressing room, we told ourselves that we could not allow that to happen. We played for one another and we were happy to win at the end.

“Of course, we know the match on Saturday will be even tougher. The Cameroonians will be determined not to lose again, but we will give our very best and go for a win. We can do it again. Our aspiration is to win the trophy and nothing has changed that,” Musa said on Friday.

Midfielder Alhassan Yusuf, injured in the physically demanding contest with Equatorial Guinea on Day 2 of the competition, is back to training and could be thrown into the fray to provide steel alongside Frank Onyeka, while Alex Iwobi lubricates things in the middle of the park.

Coach José Peseiro may opt for Ola Aina, Chidozie Awaziem, William Ekong, Calvin Bassey and Zaidu Sanusi at the rear, and there is the possibility of Kelechi Iheanacho playing some part with Victor Osimhen at the fore.

Here is a cursory look at the seven previous clashes between Nigeria and Cameroon at the AFCON:

1. 1984 AFCON FINAL MATCH: Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan
Coach Adegboye Onigbinde brought in Patrick Okala for Peter Rufai, who was injured in a bruising semi-final encounter with Egypt, which went to penalties in Bouake four days earlier. Bala Ali, who got the equalizer in that match, started in place of Chibuzor Ehilegbu. Rapid winger Clement Temile, two-goal hero against Malawi in the group phase, also started from the bench, with Stephen Keshi, Kingsley Paul, Paul Okoku, Muda Lawal, Humphrey Edobor, Yisa Sofoluwe and James Etokebe among the starters.

Etokebe sprinted to a through pass by Edobor and made a pull-out that Antoine-Bell fumbled for Muda Lawal to lash in for Nigeria’s goal. A free-kick late in the first half brushed Keshi’s head to fly past Okala for the equalizer, and Abega put Cameroon in front before Eugene Ekoule’s winner. The Lions deployed their huge experience and exposure at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, where they exited at group phase without losing any of their matches against Poland, Peru and eventual winners Italy.

2. 1988 AFCON GROUP PHASE MATCH: Stade Prince Moulay Abdallah, Rabat
Samuel Okwaraji, who only joined the team the previous year, scored with a scorching left-footed shot after only two minutes, but Cameroon equalized 20 minutes later with a header by Roger Milla, with the Nigeria defence thinking they had kept him offside. The draw followed a 3-0 defeat of Kenya and meant Nigeria only needed a draw in their next match against Egypt (which they got) to reach the semi-finals.

Goalkeeper Peter Rufai, defenders Yisa Sofoluwe, Andrew Uwe, Sunday Eboigbe and Bright Omokaro, midfielders Henry Nwosu and Ademola Adeshina, and forwards Okwaraji and Rashidi Yekini were among those involved.

3. 1988 AFCON FINAL MATCH: Stade King Mohamed V, Casablanca
Nigeria, who had survived another bruising semi-final, in which they went to a penalty shootout with Algeria after a 1-1 draw after regulation and extra time, started brightly with Ndubuisi Okosieme installed on the right, Humphrey Edobor on the left and livewire Henry Nwosu all over the place.

Henry Nwosu’s powerful header from Sam Okwaraji’s pull-out on the right sailed past Antoine-Bell, but referee Idrissa Sarr from Mauritania ruled off the strike. Cameroon scored 10 minutes into the second half when Eboigbe impeded Roger Milla and Emmanuel Kunde fired past Peter Rufai from the spot.

4. 1992 AFCON BRONZE MEDAL MATCH: Stade de l’Amitie, Dakar
Both teams needed to self-motivate after losing their semi-final matches, with the Eagles bumped by Ghana and Cameroon ejected after a penalty shootout by eventual winners Cote d’Ivoire. Coach Philippe Redon had dropped goalkeeper Antoine-Bell, who lost the crucial penalty against the Ivorians and brought in Jacques Songo’o. The Lions’ squad also included Emile Mbouh, Benjamin Massing, Cyril Makanaky, Jean-Claude Pagal and Kessack Maboang.

Nigeria had Alloy Agu in goal and also included Emeka Ezeugo, Isaac Semitoje, Nduka Ugbade, Reuben Agboola, Victor Ikpeba, Friday Ekpo, Mutiu Adepoju, Finidi George and Rashidi Yekini. Ekpo fired home from a 22-yard free-kick to give Nigeria the lead with 15 minutes to go, but the Lions equalized in the 85th minute through Bahoang. Yekini, who had scored three goals earlier in the tournament (two against Kenya and one against Zaire), got the winner from an acute angle with two minutes left.

5. 2000 AFCON FINAL MATCH: National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos
Coach Johannes Bonfrere opted to start without his two sensations, Julius Aghahowa and Tijani Babangida. The latter had netted two goals against South Africa in the semi-finals, while Aghahowa was the hero of an unexpectedly tough quarter-final duel with Senegal. Instead, Raphael Ndukwe started alongside Finidi George and Nwankwo Kanu.

In front of the Eagles’ 60,000 fans, the Lions roared to a 2-0 lead within the half-hour, after Samuel Eto’o found himself in front of Ike Shorounmu from a free-kick on the right and Patrick Mboma also found himself alone with the goalkeeper and simply sent the ball through his legs. Cameroon could have been 3-0 up minutes later when Furo Iyenemi headed against the bar while trying to clear, and Shorounmu also left his line to clear desperately.

The Eagles stemmed the tide and came into their own, with Ndukwe, playing his first match of the competition, threading the ball into the net to reduce the deficit before the break. Early in the second half, Okocha released a left-footed rocket that Alioum Boukar had no answer to, and the game flowed from end-to-end with Geremi Njitap, Lauren Etame Mayer, Salomon Olembe, Marc-Vivien Foe, Pierre Wome and Rigobert Song all involved against Okocha, Kanu, George, Taribo West, Mutiu Adepoju and substitutes Aghahowa, Babangida and Victor Ikpeba. It ended in a penalty shootout, with Kanu and Ikpeba failing to score while Foe was the only one who failed to convert for the Lions. A third triumph for the Indomitable Lions.

6. 2004 AFCON Q-FINAL MATCH: Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet, Monastir
It was a bright, sunny day in the Tunisian city of Monastir. Nigeria’s campaign got off on the wrong footing – a 0-1 loss to Morocco in their first match followed, two days later, by Coach Christian Chukwu expelling three key members of the team from their Riyat Palace Hotel for indiscretion. However, the Eagles pumped South Africa 4-0 and then defeated Benin Republic in Sfax to reach the knockout stage.

The Lions were ‘double defending champions’ having won in Ghana-Nigeria 2000 and in Mali 2002. Their jerseys hugged them tightly and physically intimidated opponents, and the CAF President was a Cameroonian!

Hayatou led a large delegation to the VIP stand, and the Cameroonian fans unfurled a mammoth banner in the stands: EAGLES FOR DINNER. Swiftly, they made their intentions known, Samuel Eto’o slotting past Vincent Enyeama after Isaac Okoronkwo missed his clearance.

Can anything go wrong? It did, as Nigeria won a free-kick just before the break and Idris Carlos Kameni could only watch Jay Jay Okocha’s effort nestle firmly in the net. Both teams fought fiercely in a supercharged second period, and as the Lions attacked, the ball came to Nwankwo Kanu whose visionary pass was neatly converted by John Utaka.

The Cup holders had been booted out!

7. 2019 AFCON ROUND OF 16 MATCH: Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria
The Super Eagles were low in spirit after a shock 0-2 defeat by minnows Madagascar and were in the Round of 16 because they had picked maximum points off Burundi and Guinea. Africa Cup of Nations’ heroes Samuel Eto’o and Nwankwo Kanu were in the stands to support their different teams. Once Botswana referee Joshua Bondo got the match underway, lethargy disappeared.

Odion Ighalo, who would emerge tournament’s top scorer, netted for the Super Eagles midway into the first half after a cut-back in the box by Ahmed Musa. Cameroon replied four minutes to the break, through Stephen Bahoken, who got the better of Kenneth Omeruo, and there was still time for Clinton N’jie to give them the lead as he slalomed through the Nigerian defence and shot past Daniel Akpeyi.

Cameroon had far more possession of the ball with Christian Bassogog, Collins, Bahoken and captain Choupo-Moting working hard, but they met a brick wall each time they launched an onslaught. Musa smartly chested the ball for Ighalo from a Chidozie Awaziem cross 18 minutes into the second half, and the poacher booted it past Andre Onana into the net for Nigeria’s equalizer.

The Eagles were in the ascendancy and would not allow the euphoria to fade. Three minutes later, Ola Aina found Ighalo close to the opposition box, and the striker threaded the ball through the legs of Michael Ngadeu to Iwobi, who finished with aplomb. Nigeria had once again booted out the Cup holders!….CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

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