WCQ: Super Eagles survive Cape Verde scare to seal playoff spot

The three-time African champions will fight for one of the five African slots in Qatar next year after playing out a draw with Cape Verde

Nigeria’s Super Eagles played out a 1-1 draw with Cape Verde to seal their place in the playoff round of the CAF 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The Super Eagles knew they only needed a point going into their final group game against the Blue Sharks to take their place in the playoffs, and they managed to achieve that at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

Gernot Rohr’s men got off to a very good start as Victor Osimhen put them ahead inside the opening minute.

However, the lead did not last long as William Troost-Ekong gave away a needless corner, which allowed Stopira to head home in the fifth minute.

The proved to be the last goal of the game, but it was not due to a lack of opportunities. Nigeria had a few chances to retake the lead, but could not convert, with the returning Odion Ighalo the main culprit.

The Al-Shabab striker first opportunity of the game midway through the first half as Jamilu Collins found him with brilliant cut-back, but he mistimed his kick.

Moments later, Osimhen found the former Manchester United striker with a delightful cross, but he could also not direct his header on target.

However, he did well to find Joe Aribo at the edge of the box, but the Rangers midfielder’s shot was brilliantly saved by the Cape Verde goalkeeper.

The second half resumed with Nigeria keeping hold of the possession, knowing they only needed a draw to qualify.

But as the game went on, Cape Verde grew in belief, and they almost snatched an unlikely winner through a goalbound shot, but Chidozie Awaziem did well to block the shot and clear for safety.

At the end, it was enough to put Gernot Rohr’s men into the playoff draws. The ten group winners will be drawn against each other in a two-legged playoff match, with the winners representing Africa at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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