A frivolous penalty awarded Algeria by the Gabonese referee was the support the Algerians needed to draw level with the Super Eagles of Nigeria that have already-qualified for the prestigious Russia 2018 World Cup next summer.
Nigeria before the game secured qualification with the beating of the Chipolopolo of Zambia in Uyo last month. The latest effort of the Super Eagles was achieved without the services of the big guns like Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi, Karl Ikeme and a host of other. However the Eagles used the outing to give other players an opportunity to stake their claim for a place at the finals in Russia as well as prepare for the high-profile friendly with Argentina.
Obi Mikel’s midfield replacement John Ogu hammered home a left footed strike in the 62nd minute, taking advantage of a poor defensive clearance, to give Nigeria the lead, before Algeria were handed a frivolous penalty, which the captain, Yacine Brahimi, who ought to have seen red following a vicious head-butt on Eric Otogo converted with two minutes to go.
The home side missed two clear chances in the second half from Islam Slimani and Aissa Mandi right in front of goal, after slips by Nigeria’s goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa. Slimani also had a chance just 23 seconds into the match as he powered through the visiting defence in an effort to get his head onto a cross from Riyad Mahrez, but his effort did not count.