By Harry Awurumibe. Editor Abuja Bureau
Apparently aware of the fact that another slip-up in Douala, Cameroon on Sunday will throw a spanner in the wheels of the team progressing to the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers, Nigeria’s Super Eagles responded to their shocking home defeat last Thursday to beat Central African Republic (CAR) 2-0 in Douala, and go top of Group C of the FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022 qualifiers on Sunday.
This is even as Tanzania defeated hosts Benin Republic in Cotonou, to share Group J top spot on seven points each.
But it was in Douala, the Super Eagles redeemed their image as Nigeria scored twice in the first half at Japoma Stadium to reclaim their Group C top spot after beating hosts CAR 2-0 to appease Nigerian football fans.
After receiving a last minute shocker at home in Lagos last Thursday, the Super Eagles wanted to make amends and maintain top spot, which they achieved in Douala, where Central African Republic play their home games.
After a cagey start from both sides, defender Leon Balogun gave Nigeria the lead a minute before the half hour mark.
The visitors continued dominating the game, and went to the break leading 2-0 as Napoli of Italy hitman, Victor Osimhen doubled the Super Eagles’ lead in the first half injury time to ease the pressure on Head Coach Gernot Rohr’s men.
On resumption, the hosts made attacking substitutes trying to get back into the game, but Nigerian defense and goalkeeper Maduka Okoye stood tall to all their attempts.
Nigeria raised their tally to 9 points, five more than Central African Republic and Cape Verde, who faces Liberia (3 points) later on Sunday.
Meanwhile at Stade de l’Amitie in Cotonou, hosts Benin Republic lost Group J top spot to Tanzania after conceding a home 1-0 defeat just like West African neighbours Nigeria did to CAR last Thursday in Lagos.
The Taifa Stars went into the game to revive from their home 1-0 defeat last Thursday, knowing a win will take them to top spot in the group.
Simon Msuva opened the scoring in the sixth minute to give the visitors an early lead, one that the held on till the end of the opening half.
In the second half, Benin threw more men in attack trying to restore parity. Tanzanian goalkeeper Aishi Manula denied Steve Mounie and Mikael Pote to keep his side ahead.
Tanzania lead the group on goal difference from Benin, both on seven points. DR Congo follows on five while Madagascar trails the pack pointless.