Nigeria’s Super Eagles crashed out of the 2019 WAFU Cup of Nations after a disastrous penalty shoot-out saw them lose 3-2 to Cape Verde after regulation time ended 1-1 at the Stade Lat Dior in Thies, Senegal, on Saturday.
The Super Eagles controlled the possession stakes in the first half but for all their dominance they struggled to create significant goal scoring chances, largely due to poor passing in the final third.
Nigeria’s first real threat on goal came on the half-hour mark when Williams Ukeme tried his luck from 24 yards out, but his powerful effort went just wide of the target.
Cape Verde, on the other hand, saw very little of the ball until the final five minutes of the half when they almost scored twice.
First, in the 43rd minute Erickson Soares drove down the left flank and into the box, showing great pace to get past his marker, but he fumbled his 14-yard shot straight at the keeper.
Then a couple of minutes later Aires Fernandes found some space on the edge of the Nigeria box, but he fired his attempt inches over the target as the half ended goalless.
The Blue Sharks almost scored again a minute after the restart when a deflected 20-yard shot from Hernan Cardoso shaved the wrong side of the woodwork.
It was all Nigeria after that and only a matter of time before they found the back of the net with the opening goal coming in the 65th minute courtesy of Sikiru Alimi, with the Super Eagles player pouncing on a loose ball from a couple of yards out following an initial save by the Cape Verde keeper off a Effiong Ndifreke shot.
Cape Verde threw players forward after going behind and managed to find the equaliser four minutes from time when Cardoso headed home a corner-kick from eight-yards out to see the match end 1-1.
It was a disastrous penalty shoot-out from Nigeria with Reuben Bala Yakubu, John Lazarus and Oluwadamilae Olatunji all missing their spot-kicks as Cape Verde ran out 3-2 winners.
Cape Verde will now face Gambia in the semifinals of the Plate competition on October 9 while Nigeria head home.