December 17, 2016

Beach soccer AFCON: Nigeria’s Sand Eagles through to semi-final

Beach soccer AFCON: Nigeria’s Sand Eagles through to semi-final

LAGOS, NIGERIA – DECEMBER 15: CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations 2016 at EKO Atlantic Beach on December 15, 2016 in Lagosi, Nigeria. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso)

Two-time CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations winners Nigeria’s Super Sand Eagles have qualified for the semi-finals of the ongoing Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations where they will face Morocco today after beating Ghana 4-3 on Thursday night at Eko Atlantic Beach, Lagos.

The Audu Adamu tutored side needed a win, in extra-time or normal-time, as they threw away their initial lead in a contest that saw the opening four goals come in the space of two third-period minutes.

Having battled back to lead going into the final three minutes, Nigeria were again hauled level before Victor Tale struck the winner a minute from time to take the Super Sand Eagles into the final four and one win away from next year’s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

In an end-to-end opening period, Nigeria were largely on top as they sought to tie up their spot in the semi-finals, although goalkeeper Adeji in the Ghana goal proved up to the task early on.

At the other end, Ayalogu pulled off a wonderful double save to keep the score level before Abu struck the Ghanian upright.

With the goalkeepers impressing ahead of their outfield colleagues, the sides went into the final frame goalless amid high tension in Lagos.

The breakthrough eventually came when Emeka sidefooted a volley into the top corner, although the wild scenes in the stands at Eko Atlantic City were shortlived as Husseini also found the roof of the net shortly after.

Ghanaian forward Adjei completed the turnaround when he swivelled and shot low past Ayalogu but Emeka levelled for Nigeria as the game came to life.

Ogodo’s penalty briefly put Nigeria back in front and, after Osa levelled from the restart, Tale collected Abu’s pass to rifle the winner home with less than two minutes left on the clock.