Two-time African champions Nigeria’s Supersand Eagles were made to work their socks off in Wednesday’s semi-final of the Beach Soccer AFCON before seeing off Egypt 7-6 in Sharm El Sheikh.
Both teams were playing for two honours – a place at the Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay and a place in the final of the tournament.
The Nigerians were off to a flyer with Abu Azeez and Taiwo Adams scoring to give the Sand Eagles a 2-0 lead before Moustafa Aly netted for the host nation. For Abu, it was his 100th goal for Nigeria in all beach soccer tournaments.
The Egyptians began the second period well and Nigeria’s goalkeeper Dami Paul was made to pull off some saves to protect his team’s lead. The pressure paid off for Egypt as Costa levelled scores at 2-2.
As the Egyptians thought they had their tails up, Emeka Ogbonna popped up with Nigeria’s third goal and within a minute Abu scored his second of the game to restore his team’s two-goal lead.
Moustafa Samir made up for an earlier spot kick he missed by scoring for Egypt before the end of the second period. But Abu handed Nigeria their two-goal cushion once more at the start of the third period.
Egypt then battled back to level the scores at 5-5 through a goal each from Samir and Mohamed as the game swung back and forth. Abu scored his fourth of the match and took his total in the tournament to seven. Just as Nigeria thought they had the game in the bag Mohamed netted with a spectacular overhead kick to level things at 6-6.
Ogbonna would break the hearts of the hosts right at the death when he smashed home the winner to ensure Nigeria become the first side apart from Paraguay who are host nation to qualify for the World Cup.
Senegal face Morocco in the other semi-final of the tournament on Thursday.
© The Predictor NG