Nigeria Super Eagles which has already qualified for the 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup in Russia today, friday, drew with Algeria 1-1 at the Stade Chahid HamlaouConstantine stadium in Algiers, Algeria in Round 3, Group B. Before today’s game, which was the last qualifier for the group, Nigeria had already qualified and Algeria already eliminated, so the score would have made no difference.
In the 63rd minute, just after Aissa Mandi missed a header inside the six-yard box, John Ogu curls in a beautiful goal from outside the penalty area! Algeria failed to clear their lines properly and Ogu settled the clearance before guiding in a shot with his left foot from over 20 yards out.
Yacine Brahimi for Algeria, successfully converted a penalty in the 88 minute for the equaliser.After missing several clear chances in the match, Algeria finally got their goal. This time it’s from the penalty spot and captain Yacine Brahimi puts his shot right down the middle.
In a closely watched qualifier, today, Friday, Senegal seized the second chance it was given by FIFA to qualify for the World Cup beating South Africa 2-0 in a replay of a game it lost first time round last year.
FIFA ordered the qualifier to be played again because of match-fixing by the referee in the initial match in November 2016. At the center of FIFA’s decision was a penalty given against Senegal for a non-existent handball that helped South Africa win 2-1 12 months ago.
Senegal used the contentious replay at the same stadium in Polokwane in northern South Africa as the annulled game to seal its place at the World Cup for the first time since 2002.
Sadio Mane was pivotal in both goals. He set up Diafra Sakho for the opener in the 12th minute and forced an own goal by South Africa defender Thamsanqa Mkhize in the 39th.
“Thank you, South Africa,” Mane said. “It was not an easy game for us but we kept pushing.”
Senegal joins Nigeria and Egypt as qualifiers for the 2018 tournament from Africa, so far. The last two qualifiers from Africa will be decided on Saturday. Either Tunisia or Congo and Morocco or Ivory Coast will make up Africa’s contingent in Russia.
FIFA’s unprecedented decision to order the replay and give Senegal another chance came in September after the world body found Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey guilty of match-fixing. Lamptey was banned for life after FIFA found he was probably manipulating the game for betting rings. There was no involvement from the South Africa or Senegal teams. But the decision to replay a game because of fixing caused serious discontent among the three other teams competing against Senegal for a World Cup place.
South Africa decried the decision to strip it of its victory as unfair while Burkina Faso appealed FIFA’s decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, calling it “an abuse of power.” CAS has not announced any decision regarding Burkina Faso’s appeal and it’s unclear what would happen if sport’s highest court upholds the appeal.
In that case, Senegal’s celebrations might be premature.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles on October 7, became the first African side to qualify for the 2018 edition of the FIFA world cup in Russia, having defeated Zambia by a lone unreplied goal, at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo.
Nigeria are on a run of 36 FIFA World Cup qualifiers without defeat, having not been beaten since losing to Angola in 2004 – with Germany 2006 the only finals they have missed in over two decades.
Nigeria have appeared in the finals of the FIFA World Cup on five occasions, the first being in 1994 where they reached the second round. They made their fifth appearance at the finals in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.