The Super Eagles of Nigeria will miss the Africa Cup of Nations for the umpteenth time after were beaten 1-0 away to Egypt on Tuesday at the Borg El Arab stadium, Alexandria.
Ramadan Sobhy scored the only goal of the encounter in a goalmouth scramble in the 65th minute from a corner kick taken by Mohamed Salah, who scored the Pharaoh’s precious equalizer in the first leg in Kaduna last Friday. The ball took a deflection from Efe Ambrose.
The Borg El-Arab Stadium was full to the brim and the first wave of antagonism was when the Nigeria national anthem was disrespected with the weather at 16oC
The Pharaohs started with intent and had two attempts on target but Daniel Akpeyi made two very good saves to keep the Eagles in the game. The attacking nous for the Eagles was almost non-existent in the first half as Odion Ighalo was most often left alone in attack. The Watford front man had a chance in the 15th minute when he chested a ball from Shehu Abdullahi but with no pressure, he blazed his shot wide.
Samson Siasia needed to bring in a more offensive player that would play closer to Ighalo and open up the Egyptian defence but he removed Amuzie and brought on Elderson Echiejile.
The second half started with Mohamed El Neny blasting wide on the edge of the box as the Eagles dropped their tempo and the Egyptians upped the tempo.
Etebo went off injured in the 62nd after an aerial clash with Abdallah El-Said. Nigeria got their first through pass into the box on 79 minutes but Ighalo could not turn his defender as the Egyptians conceded a corner kick.
The left-hand upright then denied Moses in the 83rd minute, who also had a goal-bound shot cleared last Friday in Kaduna. Another good move four minutes from the end of regulation time as good combination play led by Alex Iwobi opened up the Egyptian defence but Ighalo’s toe-poke went agonizingly wide.
Nigeria: Daniel Akpeyi, Shehu Abdullahi, Stanley Amuzie, Efe Ambrose, Godfrey Oboabona, Mikel Obi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Aminu Umar, Ahmed Musa, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo
Egypt: Ahmed El-Shennawi, Omar Gaber, Ramy Rabia, Ahmed Hegazy, Hamada Tolba, Ibrahim Salah, Mohamed Elneny, Abdallah El-Said, Ramadan Sobhy, Mohamed Sal