Third Place Playoff: Nigeria vs Algeria

1 Feb

Today saw the battle for the wooden spoon. An often forgotten and unglamorous affair, which provides minimal redemption for the victors. This year’s third place will belong to one of two surprise packages. Algeria, who lost their opening game to minnows Malawi, have turned their fortunes around and remarkably beat strong favourites Cote D’Ivoire in the quarter finals. Nigeria never really got going in the competition but still find themselves with the chance of some restored pride. If Nigeria win, they will have finished third 4 times out of the last 5 competitions. Either way, the sides have proved, beyond many sceptics beliefs, that they are still African heavy weights and deserve the places they both fought hard to achieve in qualifying for the World Cup.

The game got off to a subdued start with each team starting understrength sides. Nigeria by choice, perhaps giving fringe players a chance to shine and at the same time give tired legs a rest. Algeria through suspension, after having 3 players sent off in the clash with bitter rival Egypt in Thursday’s semi final.

The first ten minutes were on the verge of exhibition football, with neither team looking bothered to really go for it. Obinna caught the eye again with a solo effort that was just saved by replacement centre back, Slimane. Ghezal continued his fine form this Africa Cup of Nations, but had his shot blocked by Bolton‘s Shittu. Nigeria again came close when veteran striker Kanu narrowly missed a fine left-footed effort. Just before the break, Nigeria should really have taken the lead when they split the Algerian defence, only for Uche to try find Obasi when he really should have gone for goal. That exhibition feel was truly in the air.

Nigeria came out the stronger again in the second half and Obasi again should have secured the lead but his composure let him down. Taiwo’s free kick almost caught replacement keeper Zemmamouche napping and he scramble to just keep it out. The rebound fell kindly to Obasi, but he hit his shot too hard into the ground and it came crashing back off the woodwork. Obinna eventually atoned on 55 minutes. He latched onto a loose ball and magiced his way through the Algerian defence finishing coolly round Zemmamouche. 1 – 0

With the lead, Nigeria brought on the big guns and it almost paid off with substitute Matins coming close to the second as the match drew to a close. Algeria rallied and pressed further forward, but the damage was done and Nigeria held on for the win. The teams were obviously weighed down by missing out on the final, but put on a decent enough display for Nigeria to claim third place in the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.

Final Score: Nigeria 1 – 0 Algeria

Man of the Match: Obinna for bringing the game to life with his surging runs and clinching the winner.

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One Response to “Third Place Playoff: Nigeria vs Algeria”

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  1. Third Place Playoff: Nigeria vs Algeria « Out of Africa | algertoday - February 1, 2010

    […] will belong to one of two surprise packages. Algeria , who lost their … Read the rest here: Third Place Playoff: Nigeria vs Algeria « Out of Africa Share and […]

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