Nigeria's Eagles in semi final after edging out Morocco

Eagles v Morocco

Super Eagles v Morocco. CAF photo

With the 111th minute strike from Ibrahim Aliyu and three second half goals to cancel the three first half goals of their opponents, Nigeria’s Super Eagles staged what CAF reported as one of the most amazing comebacks in modern football history, to beat Morocco for the semi-final ticket of the ongoing African Nations Championship, CHAN.

Morocco’s Atlas Lions led the match 3-0 at half time, but Nigeria’s Super Eagles fought back and overturned the goal deficit at the Cape Town Stadium, South Africa on Saturday, giving pundits something to talk about for a long time to come.

Morocco surprised the Nigerian team with early goals of the first half through midfielder Omohsine Moutaouali in the 31st minute. They got the second goal in the 37th minute through Iajour Moushssine and Moutaouali added the third in the 40th.

Super Eagles v Morocco
Super Eagles v Morocco

Respite came for Stephen Keshi’s team when Ugonna Uzochukwu reduced the tally in the 49th minute, Rabiu Ali scored the second in the 55th minute and the equaliser came in from Ejike Uzoenyi in the tail of the pulsating encounter.

The Moroccan Lions began the encounter by applying the pressure on the Eagles and raising their game. The first goal could have come for the North Africans when Abdelkbir Quadi had a shot at goal that hit the chest of goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim in the 13th minute of play.

They however drew the first blood when midfielder Omohsine Moutaouali scampered through the back four of Nigeria and sent Atlas Lions ahead in 31st minute and six minutes later, the Moroccans won a free-kick on the dye of the area after Iajour Moushssine was brought down.

What a splendid strike— Iajour curled in the free-kick which beat Agbim at the near post to give his side the second goal of the match.

A brilliant third goal came in for the Lions when the Raja Casablanca player, Moutaouali scored his brace as he sliced in a low drive which struck the inside of the upright and rolled into the back of the net of the Nigerian side in the 40th minute. The Moroccans ensured that they carried the lead into the break

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The second half began with the Nigerian side looking for a way out to reduce the tally. This paid off in the 49th minute when Ugonna Uzochukwu who after controlling the ball with his chest, he toe-poked the ball into the net and six minutes later, Rabiu Ali pulled another one back as he smashed home a volley on the edge of the 18-yard area to make it 3-2.

Ten minutes to the final whistle, Stephen Keshi’s team raised their game beyond the control of their opponents.

This paid off in the 89th minute as Ejike Uzoenyi did his magic again. He curled in a goal through the upper right hand corner. There was no chance for the Moroccan goalkeeper Nadir Lamyarghrigk to stop it

The full 90 minute ended and an added time of three minute could not produce a winner forcing the tie to the extra time of 30 minutes.

The extra time began with both teams looking for the winning goal to secure the semi final ticket.

But Ibrahim Aliyu of Nigeria turned the fortune of the game around for his side when in the 111th goalkeeper Lamyaghri of Morocco failed to hold onto his ball and Ibrahim pounced on it and sliced it into the net to end the crucial tie in favour of Nigeria.