[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or a lot of Nigerians, it would seem as if the return leg should be billed for next weekend, win the game comfortably and prepare well for the mundial in Brazil next year. Unfortunately, the return leg will be played in Calabar on November 16. (We would be giving you a special coverage of that special fixture right here on “HalftimeNG”).
The good thing is Calabar would have a party-like atmosphere throughout the week leading to that game. However, is it possible for us to get complacent going into the second leg after a good win in the first leg? NO!!! (Do you agree?)
It felt very good winning away from home after a long while, barring the fans, antics, altitude, pitch in Ethiopia, the Super Eagles of Nigeria got the Job done with a 2-1 win over the Walya Antelopes and moved a step closer to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
A spirited Ethiopia took the lead after 57 minutes but the African champions fought back and drew level through the individual brilliance of Emenike when he took on the entire Ethiopia defence before he fired past the goalkeeper. Emenike would then be brought down on his way to goal a minute to full time by Aynalem Haile and the Fenerbache front man dusted himself to tuck away the resulting penalty.
On Halftime, let’s take a look at the key moments of what happened in the first and second halves of the encounter.
Electrifying atmosphere in the Addis Ababa National Stadium as both sides filed out on the pitch with Line ups being announced.
For Ethiopia, Coach Bishaw started with Jemal Tassew (GK), Tesfaye Seyoum, Degu Debebe (C), Aynalem Hailu, Abebaw Butako, Asrat Gobena, Menyahel Teshome, Shemele Bekele, Adane Girma, Behailu Assefa and Saladin Ahmed Said.
Nigeria’s coach Stephen Keshi started with Vincent Enyeama (GK)(C),Efe Ambrose, Godfrey Oboabona, Azubuike Egweukwe, Elderson Echiejile, Ogenyi Onazi, John Obi Mikel, Ahmed Musa, Nnamdi Oduamadi, Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike.
Kick off and we are underway at the Addis Ababa Stadium, Ethiopia 0-0 Nigeria.
The hosts enjoyed a great deal of possession and started brightly ahead of the African champions.
[dropcap]21’ [/dropcap]– Oduamadi got a good chance to put the away team ahead but shoots wide after Emenike provided the assist from the right flank.
[dropcap]24’[/dropcap] – The debate is still on, Oboabona makes a desperate clearance off the line after Said controls the ball neatly and fires past Enyeama. Did it cross the line? The TV replay angles didn’t help us ascertain as well but the goal wasn’t given and play continued. (It didn’t cross the line #MyOpinion).
[dropcap]35’[/dropcap] – Surprisingly, the home side called for a quick water break, looks like the altitude was affecting both teams.
[dropcap]45 + 2’ [/dropcap]– And now you know why he’s been one of the finest Goalkeepers in Europe this season following a quick reaction to parry Said’s shot after the Ethiopian forward neatly controlled the ball.
[dropcap]45 + 3’[/dropcap] – HT: Ethiopia 0-0 Nigeria
A good first half with both sides creating chances but the hosts had more clearer opportunities.
*POSSESSION – ETHIOPIA 61% – 39% NIGERIA
At this point, a whole lot of fans in Nigeria were hoping that the Eagles can atleast come out from this encounter with a draw but were also expecting to see Goals.
[dropcap]45’[/dropcap] – Second half underway
In the first Ten minutes of the 2nd half,both sides exchanged good possession.
[dropcap]57’[/dropcap] – Another talking point as Behailu Assefa scored for the home team. He delivered a cross from the left flank which somehow bends towards goal; Enyeama catches the ball but the referee believes it was over the line, his decision was welcomed with great excitement and jubilations across the stadium. Now they can dare to dream!!! (ETHIOPIA 1-0 NIGERIA)
[dropcap]67’[/dropcap] – After substitutions have been made by both teams, Emmanuel Emenike scored! The striker’s Individual skill was on display as he held off his marker before firing into the back of the net from outside the box. Jubilations across Nigeria but the stadium in Addis Ababa had gone quiet. (ETHIOPIA 1-1 NIGERIA)
[dropcap]76’[/dropcap] – Double tackle on Ahmed Musa as he goes down under a challenge outside the box and just inside the box but the referee sees nothing wrong with the tackles.
[dropcap]77’[/dropcap] – And it should have gone in but Musa’s strike comes off the upright! Very close!!
[dropcap]83’[/dropcap] – Egwueke’s timely clearance saved the day as he botched Said’s chance who had controlled the ball well in the box.
[dropcap]89’[/dropcap] – No arguements, it’s a Penalty as Emenike was pulled down inside the box by Aynalem Hailu.
[dropcap]90’ [/dropcap]– Emenike coolly coverts from the spot, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. And the fans knew that it was all over. (ETHIOPIA 1-2 NIGERIA)
[dropcap]90 + 5’[/dropcap] – FT: Ethiopia 1-2 Nigeria
And it was a huge heartbreak for the hosts who will be very disappointed with the result but the African Champions had just paid them a visit, they came, they saw and they CONQUERED.
See you in Calabar!!!