#AFCON2019 Favourite: The Eagles are King of Air and Land

Posted on July 09 2019 , at 01:28 pm
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On the field of the #AFCON2019 round-of-16 match at the Alexandria Stadium, Egypt, Nigeria’s Super Eagles dominated the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. Reeling from a roller-coaster-kind-of-comeback from 1-2 to defeat the Lions 3-2, they weren’t just footballers, they were game changers.

 

Super Eagles celebrate Nigeria’s first goal against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon

Three-time Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions, the Super Eagles were up against five-time winners, defending champion and their biggest rival, the Indomitable Lions. Despite having won 13 of their 22 encounters, and humiliating the Lions in the race to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Cameroon have had the upper hand against Nigeria in AFCON history.

Playing against Nigeria last Saturday, the Indomitable Lions looked like they were on the verge of getting the better part of the game. They had 62 percent ball possession as against the Super Eagles 38 percent, and were more mobile and faster on the field. Notwithstanding, 19 minutes into the match and Odion Ighalo netted the first goal for the Eagles.

 

After the first goal you could see the Eagles recoil and recorded few weak passes, allowing the Cameroonians to dominate. Two goals (an equaliser by Stéphane Bahoken, and the goal by Clinton Njie that gave Cameroon the advantage) close to the end of the first half, and all done in 3 minutes, had the Lions living up to their name, indomitable.

 

In the 41th minute the Cameroonians found a chance when Christian Bassogog crossed to Stéphane Bahoken who seamlessly pressed the ball into the net. It wasn’t long afterwards at the 44th minutes that a second goal by Clinton Njie gave Cameroon the advantage, and almost netting a third goal in the second half, at the 52nd minute.

 

Super Eagles fans at the This Is Naija (TIN) fan park at the Discovery Park, Uyo

 

However, it didn’t matter how they played, Super Eagles fans at the This Is Naija (TIN) fan park in Discovery Park, Uyo, Akwa Ibom were optimistic that the second half would begin on an optimistic note, as they hoped for a comeback by the Eagles. In the end they got what they prayed for; an impressive comeback that placed the Eagles as lords of the sky and land.

 

Tomorrow, the Super Eagles will be meeting the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the quarter final stage. The Eagles are history favourites with two wins, three draws and one loss to the Bafana Bafana in all the times they’ve met from 2000 to 2018. Even with the Bafana Bafana’s upstaging of the Pharaohs of Egypt, the Eagles remain favourite in tomorrow’s match.

 

Football analyst, Timilehin Adebiyi, says the Eagles are poised to win. “The South Africans play a very expansive football; they spread the ball around, dazzles and all, but Nigeria will narrow their play and make it difficult for them to find space. We did it well against Cameroon. We should be able to soak up pressure and then hit them on the counter.”

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