Two goals from Victor Moses and substitute Obinna Nsofor ensured that Nigeria’s Super Eagles booked their place in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil at the expense of visiting Walya Ibex of Ethiopia Saturday.
Liverpool of England star, Moses converted the penalty he took in the 18th minute of the first half after Anyalem Haliu of Ethiopia was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box by the referee.
Nsofor who replaced Moses in the 78th minute scored the Eagles’ second goal with a sublime free-kick in the 83rd minute of the crucial match at the U.J Eusene Stadium, Calabar, Cross River State.
The game started with the Stephen Keshi-led team bravely and cautiously playing their game with the determination to consolidate on the 2-1 victory the team had in the first leg of the World Cup playoff in Addis Ababa last month.
After Moses’ goal, Nigeria pushed an Ethiopian team who could not threaten enough to get an equaliser.
Italy based Onazi Ogazi in the 31st minute made a cross in the right to Brown Ideye who missed the ball and cleared it wide.
The pace of the game slowed down in the second half as Nigeria seem comfortable with their lead.
As if heaven was waiting for the winning goal from Nsofor in the 83rd minute, a heavy downpour climaxed the end of the game.
The Super Eagles are through to Brazil’s World Cup with an emphatic 4-1 aggregate victory over Ethiopia.
Moses and Nsofor won Guinness Nigeria Plc.’s $2,000 each for the goals they scored while Onazi was adjudged as the Most Valuable Player, MVP of the match. He won Tom Tom’s $5,000 award.
CSKA Moscow forward Ahmed Musa said it was a dream come true to qualify for what will be his first World Cup, but he blamed the hot weather for the team’s subdued outing.
“I thank God for the World Cup ticket, it is a dream come true for me. It has been my dream to go to the World Cup and I have made it,” Musa remarked.
“We would have done a lot better today but the weather was hot and this worked against us.”
And Celtic defender Efe Ambrose now hopes the Eagles shine in Brazil, saying: “I am happy to be part of this history making. My target is now to help my country do well at the World Cup.”
Ambrose came close for Nigeria right at the start of the game and goalkeeper Sisay Bancha then made a one-handed save from Emmanuel Emenike from 10 yards out as the home team pressed for an early opening goal.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has commended Coach Stephen Keshi and the national team;the Super Eagles, for putting together a formidable team that was able to beat Ethiopian team at the U .J Esuene Township stadium today, booking Nigeria’s ticket for World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
In his congratulatory message posted on his facebook page a few minute after the match ended with Nigeria 2,Ethiopia 0 with (4 ;1 goal aggregate)the President said; “Again, the Super Eagles have demonstrated why they are the Champions of Africa.
“The match today in Calabar was a master piece of great footballing.This is the sort of team work and synergy that the world has come to expect from not just our football teams, but from the general Nigerian society”.
He hoped that “With the type of play we witnessed today, the World Cup is within reach. I commend Stephen Keshi for putting together a formidable team and urge all our players not to rest on their oars as we march forward to Brazil next year”.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has also congratulated the Super Eagles on their qualification for the FIFA World Cup holding in Brazil, next year.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Peter Okhiria, Oshiomhole said the Eagles have done Nigeria and indeed Africa proud by the qualification.
He said: “the Super Eagles have shown that they are indeed the Champions of Africa by emerging the first country from the continent to qualify for the World cup, joining the ranks of other great football nations like Germany, Netherlands, Spain and England, among others, who have already qualified.
“The Eagles qualification, a few days after the nation’s youngsters won the Under-17 World Cup shows a resurgence in the belief by Nigerians that with zeal, sacrifice, patience and team work, a great deal can be achieved.
“However, with this qualification comes more hard work. I appeal to the Nigeria Football Federation, the coaches and other handlers of the team not to rest on their oars but do all that is needful to ensure that the Eagles beat our best World Cup record. I wish the Eagles success in Brazil, and our prayers are with them to emerge victorious in Brazil.”