By Duro Ikhazuagbe in Yaoundé
Nigeria’s desire to seal the qualification for the World Cup 2018 with two legs victories over Cameroon failed to material last night as the Indomitable Lions battled back from first half one goal down to share points with the Super Eagles in Yaoundé.
Now, Nigeria will have to wait for the October 7 clash with the Chipolopolo of Zambia in the Match day 5 clash in Uyo to pop the Champagne iced since last Friday after the 4-0 crushing of Cameroon.
Yesterday, the Cameroonians fought like wounded Lions to be able to rescue something from the clash to save their faces before their partisan home crowd.
Until Moses Simon stabbed in the winner in the 30th minutes, the reigning African champions controlled the game, straying into Nigeria’s half with relative ease.
Coach Hugo Broos who benched both Aboubakar Vincent and Christian Bassogog for Zambo Anguissa and Jean Pierre Nsame, sought the maximum damage but it failed ,to happen before Simon’s goal came of the beautiful exchanges between Odion Ighalo and Victor Moses.
That first stanza ended in favour of Nigeria but the hosts had clearly, the most chances.
On resumption for the second half, the Cameroon gaffer introduced both Aboubakar and Bassogog as his joker. The two substitutions changed the game in favour of the e Lions. It appears Broos suddenly realized that Elderson Echiejile was the weak link in the Nigerian defence line and instructed his wards to be exploit that.
A float from that area to the middle led to Ezenwa coming out to gun for the ball with onrushing Aboubakar. The FC IfeanyiUbah goal keeper tripped the Lions’ star forward for Zambian center referee, Bakare Papa Gassama to signal for a penalty kick.
Aboubakar converted the kick for Cameroon’s equalizer.
Nigerian Coach, Gernot Roth introduced Kelechi Iheanacho, Mikel Agu and Oghenekaro Etebo deep into the game but the resolute Lions refused to budge. Not even the added five minutes could change the course of the game.
Speaking at the post match, Coach Roahr said he achieved his aim of picking four points from the six at stake against the African champions.
“It is not easy to play the AFCON champions and pick four points out of six. We have e achieved our aims with the victory in Uyo and the draw here in Yaoundé. The Cameroonians have only delayed our party. We still have two more games to achieve our aim of qualifying to the World Cup in Russia,” observed the Franco-German coach last night.