By Tony Ubani
AN injury time goal headed home by Obinna Nsofor kept hope alive for Nigeriaâ€™s qualification for South Africa 2010 as Mozambique prove difficult to beat in Sundayâ€™s World Cup qualifier decided at the National Stadium Abuja.
It was indeed an act even the great escape magician, Harry Houdini would have loved to copy for his routine. The scanty crowd at the stadium had given up hope and were making their way out of the stadium, when Nsofor scrambled in the last gasp header after a goal mouth melee, sparked by a shot taken by Obafemi Martins and was parried by the Mozambique keeper.
The Eagles pushed their opponents hard in the first stages of the game, but resolute defending kept Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Eneremo at bay even as Osaze Odewingie worked from the flanks. Mozambique fought back with swift counters and Vincent Enyeama was clearly beaten in one of such raids, it was the bar that prevented Tico Ticoâ€™s well taken shot from a tight angle from sailing into the net.
The Eagles were rattled and it was evident they had no clue on how to get around the Mozambicans, and the Eagles resorted to long balls which were easily repelled. However, Yusuf Ayinla and Ebenezer Ajilore were untiring in the effort to control the midfield. Ajilore cracked a shot at goal, but it was beaten away by Kapango in goal for Mozambique, he made excellent saves to deny the Eagles the lead.
At the break Obafemi Martins came in for Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Nsofor for Michael Eneramo and that seems to put some urgency in the Eagles attack. Nsofor was named the most valuable player for his efforts at reviving the flagging fortunes of the Eagles.
Meanwhile in Tunisia, an early goal headed inÂ by Isaam Jomma provided all the excitement for the Carthage Eagles in their game against Kenya. The group B ticket will now be decided in November when Tunisia travel to Maputo, while the Eagles visit Kenya in Nairobi. Tunisia top the group with 11 points, while Nigeria is on nine.