Ramadan Sobhi’s goal ended Super Eagles dream of qualifying for the 2017 African Cup of Nations after the team lost 1-0 to the Pharaohs of Egypt at the Borg El Arab Stadium on Tuesday.
Despite Nigeria dominating possession with some beautiful exchanges of passes, the team couldn’t find a way of breaking the solid defense of the Egyptians.
With nothing but a victory expected from the Super Eagles, Watford’s Odion Ighalo had the chance of putting the team ahead in the 15th minute as he found himself in the 18-yard box of the host only to miss-direct his volley wide of the goal post.
The Pharaohs could have taken the lead in quick succession but for Daniel Akpeyi, who was in goal in the absence of Carl Ikeme, and kept them at bay with some fine saves.
The first half ended with both teams feeling disappointed for not converting the slight goal scoring opportunities that came their way.
However, at the resumption of the second half, the Egyptians were fired up as they attacked the Super Eagles from both flanks and had to force Akpeyi to make some brilliant saves.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 65th minute when Egypt’s Ramadan Sobhi capitalized on Nigeria’s poor defensive clear out to score the opening goal that booked the team’s ticket to the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon after missing three of the last editions.
Nigeria’s effort to force a comeback proved abortive as the Egyptian defense remained solid and curtailed the threats of Ighalo and Victor Moses.
For the second time in a row, the Super Eagles will not be at the African Cup of Nations after missing the last edition that was hosted by Equatorial Guinea in 2015.