November 17, 2019
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  • Madagascar produced the shock of the Africa Cup of Nations so far as they beat three-time winners Nigeria 2-0.

Madagascar produced the shock of the Africa Cup of Nations so far as they beat three-time winners Nigeria 2-0.

By on June 30, 2019 0 58 Views

The Indian Ocean islanders have been the surprise package on their Afcon debut, claiming four points from their first two games in Egypt.

And Lalaina Nomenjanahary stunned Nigeria by pouncing on a defensive error to claim an early opener.

Carolus Andriamatsinoro’s deflected free-kick then ensured Madagascar went into the last 16 as winners of Group B.

Madagascar are ranked 108th in the world – 63 places below Nigeria, who go through as runners-up having won their first two group games.

Nigeria dominated possession but were punished when trying to play out from the back. John Ogu under-hit a square ball to Leon Balogun on the edge of their own box and the Brighton defender hesitated, allowing Nomenjanahary to nip in and round the goalkeeper before slipping the ball into an empty net.

Coach Gernot Rohr made five changes to the Nigeria side that beat Guinea 1-0 but they still featured several players who are regulars in Europe’s top leagues and the Super Eagles replied with Samuel Kalu curling a shot wide.

But Madagascar continued to make the better chances as Andriamatsinoro produced a tame volley after exchanging passes with Jerome Mombris, before captain Faneva Andriatsima lashed a shot wide after being slipped in by Andriamatsinoro.

Madagascar doubled their lead as Andriamatsinoro’s 25-yard free-kick deflected in off half-time Nigeria substitute Wilfred Ndidi. The Leicester midfielder then produced his side’s first shot on target on 57 minutes but not even the introduction of Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi could spark a Nigeria fightback.

Analysis

BBC Sport Africa’s Murray Burnell

Madagascar continue to make history and this will go down as their greatest victory of all time.

But this wasn’t a backs-against-the-wall upset; Madagascar were good value for the win against a much-changed Nigeria. Goalscorers Nomenjanahary and Andriamatsinoro were constant threats, and the high press gave Nigeria no time to settle.

Madagascar are making a real name for themselves at this tournament and they’re clearly not here to make up the numbers; their football at times was a joy to watch.

The Super Eagles laboured to wins in their first two games and really struggled up front in this one, without any of the star names firing – lots for Gernot Rohr to ponder before the last 16.

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