Nigeria knockout holders Cameroon in thrilling encounter

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Nigeria 3-2 Cameroon

Nigeria defeated Cameroon 3-2 in a thrilling Round of 16 fixture at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

A brace from Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi’s strike were enough for the Super Eagles to see off the reigning African champions at the Alexandria Stadium on Saturday.

The encounter, as expected, started as a physical contest but Nigeria had the better chances in the opening minutes.

The breakthrough came in the 19th through Odion Ighalo’s effort, which was deflected into the back of Andre Onana’s net.

After breaking the deadlock, Nigeria lost control of the game and Clarence Seedorf’s men started applying pressure for an equaliser.

In the 24th minute, Clinton Njie benefitted from a defensive slip and then passed to Pierre Kunde, but the Mainz 05 midfielder blasted his effort wide of the post.

Three minutes later, Pierre Kunde was punished for a late and reckless tackle on Oghenekaro Etebo.

Cameroon’s push for an equaliser finally paid off in the 41st minute, with Stephane Bahoken slotting Bassogog’s cross past Daniel Akpeyi.

Odion Ighalo celebrates one of his two goals.

The situation turned sour for Nigeria as Njie fired the Indomitable Lions ahead a minute before the half-time break.

Five minutes after the restart, Ola Aina nearly made it three for Cameroon after deflecting Njie’s cross goalwards, but Akpeyi came to the rescue with his save.

Moses Simon was replaced by Samuel Chukwueze on the hour mark as the Super Eagles pushed for a leveler.

Ighalo inspired the comeback in the 63rd minute after turning a pass from Ahmed Musa into the back of the net to set up a thrilling finale.

Even after getting the equaliser, Nigeria kept pushing for the lead and it came three minutes later, with Alex Iwobi finishing a fine assist from Ighalo.

While the Indomitable Lions worked to fight back, the Super Eagles held their ground to advance to the last eight.

Two-goal hero Ighalo, who was named the Man of the Match, was later replaced by Paul Onuachu, while Leon Balogun came on for Iwobi at the death of the encounter.

Nigeria are still in the hunt for their fourth Afcon title and will meet the winner of the game between Egypt and South Africa in the quarterfinal on July 10.

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