By Victor Kanayo
Nigeria’s Super Eagles on Monday narrowly beat 10-man Mambas of Mozambique 3-2 in an international friendly match decided in Portimao, Portugal.
Super Eagles trio – Terem Moffi, Frank Onyeka and Moses Simon scored for Nigeria, while Catamo and Bangal netted for the Mambas who stepped up play despite being one man down.
The win in the Portuguese city was the first for the Super Eagles in a friendly match in 55 months, back to March 2019 when Paul Onuachu’s first minute goal accounted for the defeat of seven-time African champions Egypt at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.
How The Goals Poured Into Both Nets
The Mambas got in front with a shock goal after only six minutes when Catamo dragged the ball past goalkeeper Francis Uzoho who anticipated the ball in a different direction.
France -based striker Moffi ensured parity in the 19th minute, when he had the last laugh as the Mozambican defenders threw themselves at every shot in their penalty area.
Midfielder Onyeka put Nigeria in front on the half hour, when his measured shot from the edge of the box sailed into the net unhindered.
The Super Eagles, who have adopted the battlecry ‘Let’s Do It Again’ for their quest for a fourth Africa Cup of Nations title come Cote d’Ivoire early next year, dominated afterwards and got a third goal when the irrepressible Moses Simon netted from the penalty spot in added time in the first period.
The southern Africans were bullish in the second period, unhindered by the numerical disadvantage following a red card to one of their players in the first half, and got a second goal through Bangal with 10 minutes into the closing half.
Francis Uzoho’s Continious Howler
Nigerian goalkeeper Francis Uzoho continued in his usual howling nature when he allowed a cheap goal go pass him towards the end of 90 minutes proceedings.
Uzoho was in between the sticks when the Super Eagles were forced to concede a 2-2 draw against Saudi Arabia, Friday, at the same venue due to his blunder.
What The History Says Ahead Of Future Engagements
Both Nigeria and Mozambique had met four times.
The Mozambicans almost derailed the World Cup qualification of Nigeria to South Africa 2010 in 2009 when on March 29, 2009 the Mambas played goalless with Nigeria at home but the second leg in Abuja on October 11, 2009 saw Nigeria fly away by a lone goal.
Nigeria pecked the Mambas 3-0 in an AFCON match played January 20th 2010 but after playing 2-2 at half time on October 15, 2014, the Eagles spanked Mozambique 4-2 at full time in another match.
The COSAFA nation ranked 113 in the world was last Friday forced to 1-1 draw by Angola in Portugal. The Mambas had a goalless first half and Sporting Lisbon Forward, Geny Catamo scored in 70th minute while Gelson Dala equalized for Angola in the 85th minute.
On the 10th of July, 2023, Mozambique lost 0-1 to Lesotho, won 1-0 against Mauritius on July 12, 2023 and had beaten Benin Republic 3-2 in an AFCON encounter on September 9, 2023.
Mozambique had their biggest win 6-1 over Lesotho on August 10, 1980 but their greatest loss was 6-0 to Zimbabwe at Salisbury in Zimbabwe on April 20, 1980.
The records of Mozambique in African football are nothing to be compared to that of Nigeria.
The team has never been to the World cup. They appeared at the African Cup of Nations AFCON party four times in 1986, 1996, 1998 and 2010 losing at the group stages each time.
Whereas they were at their regional COSAFA Championships 19 times, never won it but came out as Runners up twice in 2008 and 2019.
Mozambique will play the last World Cup qualifier in Group G along with Botswana and Angola who are from their region.
Nigeria had walloped Sao Tome 6-0 in an AFCON qualifier on September 10, 2023 after drubbing the country 10-0 on their backyard for Nigeria’s highest win ever.
Nigeria on June 18, 2023 beat Sierra Leone 3-2, piped Guinea Bissau 1-0 on March 27, 2023 after Nigeria lost to the same Guinea Biss