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Nigeria seal World Cup playoff ticket after nervy Cape Verde draw in Lagos

Nigeria seals playoff spot

Nigeria sealed their qualification to the play-off round of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup with a nervy 1-1 draw with Cape Verde in Lagos on Tuesday evening as they finished top of Group C.

The Super Eagles cruised into the final group phase encounter on the heels of a 2-0 away win over Liberia in Morocco thanks to strikes from Victor Osimhen and captain Ahmed Musa from the spots in each half on Saturday.

Four days later, Gernot Rohr's side needed at least a draw against Cape Verde who earned a 2-1 triumph over Central African Republic at home to keep alive their qualification dream and pile pressure on the Super Eagles same day.

On the day, Osimhen's early strike was all required to ensure the Super Eagles wrap up their progression to the next round in the African race to Qatar 2022 as they finished as Group C leaders with 13 points after six games.

Rohr handed a starting role to returning Al Shabab striker Odion Ighalo as his only change to the starting XI that defeated Liberia on Saturday, taking the place of Liecester City star Kelechi Iheanacho.

The hosts made a bright start to the contest as Osimhen’s brilliant effort saw them gain an early lead from the first minute. However the visitors stunned the home fans as they profited from an opportunity from a corner kick, with Stopira beat Watford defender William Troost-Ekong to level matters five minutes later.

Besides several chaotic moments, both sides could not find a breakthrough with the hosts fighting tooth and nail to avoid a costly slip in the drab second 45 minutes of the encounter to force a dramatic stalemate in the end.

After six matches, Nigeria finished top of group C with 13 points and followed by Cape Verde with 11 points, while Liberia who thrashed Central African Republic 3-1 ended third and fourth with six and one points respectively.

With Nigeria's progression, they become the latest national side along with Algeria to reach the African playoffs, joining Egypt, Mali, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Democratic Republic of Congo to make eight so far.

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