By Emmanuel Okogba
The Super Eagles of Nigeria consolidated their lead in the race for the sole ticket in Group B on Friday by thrashing arch-rival and African Champions Cameroon 4-0.
In what seemed like a movie, the Eagles blew away the much fancied Cameroon side who were banking on their African Championship and FIFA Confederations Cup experience to get their first win of the campaign.
Odion Ighalo won the tussle with a defender to open the goal-fest in the 29th minute after a brilliant pass from the middle of the park by Captain John Mikel Obi helped him put a low ball beyond Fabrice Ondoa who was in goal for the Cameroonians.
Mikel Obi will go on to double the lead in the 42nd minute from a corner-kick. Victor Moses crossed and a fine dummy run by Ighalo saw the ball land in front of Mikel who thankfully beat his marker and shot into the roof of the net as the first half came to an end.
The Cameroonians came out blazing in the second half, substitute Choupo-Moting leading the charge. The threats however, ceased when Victor Moses who was the chief tormentor teamed up with Simon Moses to make it three in the 55th minute and without a shadow of a doubt put the game beyond the Lions.
Kelechi Iheanacho came on for Odion Ighalo and added icing to the cake with a beauty of a header. Victor Moses once again played a part by setting up Ogenyi Onazi for a cross from the right side of the field which unmarked Iheanacho calmly headed in to leave the Cameroonians staring a miss from the Russia 2018 party straight in the eyes.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa’s debut
Every player on the Nigerian side came to the party and Ikechukwu Ezenwa’s may just have played his way into the number 1 spot as he showed a lot of confidence and experience on the night.
A lot of doubt surrounded his starting after the inevitable absence of Carl Ikeme and Daniel Akpeyi suffering an injury relapse but Ezenwa put up a performance that left football fans feeling that perhaps we have another Enyeama in the making.
Fc IfeanyiUbah’s Ezenwa who captained the home based Eagles to beat Benin Republic and booked a place in Kenya gave Gernot Rohr reasons why he must pay more attention to players in the local league.
The reverse leg comes up on Monday and a win for the Eagles will all but guarantee a place in Russia with two games to spare.
The Super Eagles have now gone 33 games without a loss in World Cup qualifiers.