Mandela Challenge: Nigeria whip S’Afica 2-0

In a spate of six months, Nigeria lifted a second trophy on South African soil after the Super Eagles defeated hosts Bafana Bafana 2-0 in the 2013 Nelson Mandela Challenge on Wednesday night. The first trophy was won in February when they grabbed the African Nations Cup under the same coach, Stephen Keshi.

The first half of the match played in Durban ended goalless but Uche Nwafor came on in the second half to score both goals. Nigeria made three changes at the start of the second half, bringing on Moses for Mba, Ahmed Musa for Nsofor and Nwafor for Shola Ameobi.

The first of the two was a classic as the Holland-based player scored off a cheeky back heel. John Ogu had the first shot of the game on four minutes, from outside the box, but it was high and wide. And then many other chances were missed afterwards by both sides until the 48th minute after a cutback from Nnamdi Oduamadi, following a great play by Victor Moses holding off Phala and skipping past a couple of Bafana tackles.

Nwafor made it 2-0 in the 68th minute. The Eagles then held on to win the trophy for the second time.

Keshi was happy with the surprise roster Nigeria used for the clash. He said he presented a different starting line-up from what the South Africans had anticipated.

He said, “We played against a good side but we really wanted to do our nation proud and so we did all we could to win the game.

“I knew they would be waiting for Musa and Moses and so we left them until second half to get in fresh and rested. We also wanted a player like Shola Ameobi to have a real taste of African football and so he had to start. And the pattern worked out for us.”

Keshi added that he was happy both sides played quality football in honour of Mandela.

“Mandela has done great for Africa. It was necessary to give him a game that’s very outstanding. He deserves nothing less.”

South Africa coach Gordon Igesund admitted he faced a better side.

“It was a good game tonight. They used the ball better than us. We gave away the ball cheaply. I think they deserved to win; they played better but it was a great game,” he said.

Moses who made a return to the side after missing the FIFA Confederations Cup said he was excited by the outcome.

He said, “A great game it was. It was a friendly but we really wanted to win it in honour great Mandela.”

Malawi who will face Nigeria in September in a World Cup qualifier defeated Rwanda 1-0 away from home also on Wednesday.

Source: Punch

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