6th June, 2010
The Super Eagles of Nigeria this evening defeated North Korea 3-1 in their last friendly match disrupted by stampede, but the Eagles showed they are on course for the World Cup.
Evertonâ€™s Yakubu Aiyegbeni opened scores early in the first half for the coach Lars Lagerback-tutored Eagles, while Obinna Nsofor increased the tally in the 61st minute with a perfectly tucked in penalty kick following a hand ball by a Korean defender.
With barely two minutes after Nsoforâ€™s goal, Jong Tae-Se scored a compensatory goal for the Koreans. Jong grabbed the ball off a costly back pass from Elderson Echiejile from the left side of Eaglesâ€™ rear, beat Joseph Yobo before unleashing the shot that caught goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama napping.
Obafemi Martins sealed up the match with a fantastic header from Kalu Ucheâ€™s pullout. Uche dribbled his way into the Koreansâ€™ box and lifted the ball high for Martins to finish up.
The match, which lived up to the expectation of millions of fans was however disrupted by the stampede, that left some fans injured.
The fans, including some policemen suffered minor injuries during the stampede that occurred at the Tembisa stadium before and during the Nigeria/Korea match.
Thousands of fans, who had gathered outside the complex forced the gates open in frustration before gaining entrance into the stadium.
The stampede was later brought under control and the match kicked off at 1500 hours, but the referee halted the friendly midway into the second half when the South Africa-based Nigerian fans stormed the tracks to cheer the Eagles. The officials later allowed the match to continue when they realised the excited fans did not interfer with play.
The Eagles, who drew their previous friendly matches against Saudi Arabia and Colombia, will play their opening match of the World Cup against Argentina on 12 June.
Meanwhile, Chelseaâ€™s John Obi Mikel, who failed to recover from a knee surgery has left the Eaglesâ€™ camp, giving former Flying Eagles youngster, Brown Ideye a chance to feature in the World Cup finals.
Mikel was earlier certified fit to play in the World Cup by Chelseaâ€™s medical team, and was included in the Nigerian squad before Lagerback discovered his poor fitness level on Saturday.