The emirate stadium hosted no match last weekend; neither did the red and white of North London play any match away. The Arsenal had a break and international football came calling. Theo was hospitalized and has a rib injury; the ox scored his first international goal creating a bizarre record with his father as the only father and son to score for the three lions.
I wasn’t opportune to watch any world cup qualifier, be it European, Asian or American. I focused on the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers, of which my fatherland Nigeria had a crucial game. But I did follow every other scores and games: no surprising result. I hear “world best” Bendtner scored. I love that guy. Santi played, Ronaldo couldn’t save Russia and Falcao and Messi continues scoring.
After failing to qualify for the last AFCON co-hosted by Congo DR and Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria needed to restore their pride by being in South Africa next year. The AFCON qualifier which doubles as a FIFA world cup qualifier was crucial for the resurgent Nigerians. The Super Eagles ran rout over the Lone Stars of Liberia in the beautiful city of Calabar to book their ticket to AFCON 20113.
Before you could say Jack Robinson, Nigeria took the lead in the 2nd minute thanks to a Victor Moses freekick headedin by Celtic’s Efe Ambrose. Speedy Ahmed Musa had been brought down for the kick. A low cross from Lokomotiv Moscow’s Emenike was dabbed in by CSKA Moscow’s Ahmed Musa to make it 2-0,7 minutes before half time.
2 minute after the break, Chelsea forward, Victor Moses got his first international goal as he converted Nosa Igiebor’s pass. 5 minutes later, Returnee Mikel Obi converted from the spot to make it 4-0 after Nosa Igiebor was fouled in the box by the Liberian goalkeeper.
Ahmed Musa, who has given a come-and-get-me plea to Arsenal, assisted Real betis’ Ikechukwu Uchein the 72ndbefore Wleh Ronaldinho pulled a consolation for the Lone Stars thanks to a Sekou Oliseh through pass in the 81st minute. Moses rounded up play, heading in a cross from fellow Chelsea teammate, Mikel, 3 minutes before regulation time.
6-1!!?? It has been long Nigerians have scored more than 2 goals. The last time Nigeria scored more than 5 goals in a match was in an AFCON qualifier against Ethiopia in 1991 which ended 7-1. Nigeria missed a lot of goals, it would have been worse for the Liberians.
So Nigeria goes through 8-3 on aggregate, after the first leg ended in a 2-2 draw. Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia and defending champions Zambia are also through to South Africa 2013. Cameroon lost out 2-3 on aggregate to Cape Verde, despite winning 2-1 in Yaoundé, while Ethiopia triumphed over Sudan. Niger, Togo, Congo DR, Angola, Algeria and Central African Republic complete the draw. Expect a tough competition next year.
Less I forget; Gervinho survived a crowd scare with his Ivorian team mates in Dakar. Didier Drogba had given them a 2-0 lead over Demba Ba’s Senegal before the home fans started a bonfire, throwing fire crackers and stones to the pitch. It went uncontrolled as the away fans had to run to the pitch for safety. The game ended 14 minutes before regulation time and the police had to escort the players, officials and the Ivorian fans. This is a shame to Senegal, Africa and football. Hope they get fined and banned.
Enough of AFCON international ramblings, I await the melodrama of the premier league this weekend. Arsenal will be away to Norwich, hope I won’t miss that match.
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