Chelsea Stars Moses, Mikel Destroy Algeria In World Cup Qualifier

Published: November 12, 2016
Chelsea Stars Moses, Mikel Destroy Algeria In World Cup QualifierVictor Moses and John Obi Mikel starred as Nigeria moved into full control of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying group with a 3-1 home victory over Algeria in Uyo.

Home team Nigeria had hope to extend their winning run under coach Gernot Rohr, who had won his first two games against Tanzania and Zambia.

Algeria, on the other hand, needed a positive result after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Cameroon last month.

Chelsea loanee Kenneth Omeruo was the man called upon to fix the problematic right back after he played in the heart of the defence in Ndola.

As widely expected, Leon Balogun, Oghenekaro Etebo and Moses all made the starting eleven after injury kept them out last month’s game against Zambia.

Nigeria made four changes to the starting XI from last month’s World Cup qualifier with Brown Ideye, Wilfred Ndidi and Moses Simon dumped to the bench.

Major injury casualty was first-choice goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, whose place was taken by Chippa United of South Africa ace Daniel Akpeyi.

Algeria had been hit by a spate of injuries with the Fennecs risking Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam, who had been nursing a groin injury.

The arena was the superb edifice called the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

After a shaky start, the hosts  gradually settled into their groove with the massive crowd cheering.

Man-of-the-match Moses came close to netting the opening goal, but his final shot was off target after he dashed into the box seven minutes into the entertaining clash.

The Algerians also pressed Nigeria from the front and got the three-time Nations Cup winners to commit some unnecessary mistakes.

The game opened up and both sides were attacking each other at every opportunity.

Former Heartland and Warri Wolves goalie Akpeyi came off his line to punch Yacine Brahimi’s dangerous cross to safety.

The first goal of the match soon arrived from the man causing all sorts problems down the flank in the 25th minute.

Obi Mikel combined with Moses who dashed into the box to fire beyond the reach of the stranded goalkeeper M’Bolhi.

The goal gave Nigeria further impetus to attack and Moses ran down the flank to thread a cross to Kelechi Iheanacho who couldn’t apply the simplest of touches to the ball. It was very close as the Algerian defence simply stood still.

With nine minutes left in the first half, Algeria were almost on level terms.

Riyad Mahrez delivered a tailor-made cross to Nabil Bentaleb, who turned past two defenders before shooting over the bar. That should have been the equaliser for Algeria.

Another wave of attack by Mahrez saw the Leicester City man shoot for goal, but it was also off target to the relief of the home team.

Nigeria had another reason to celebrate again and this time it was inspirational Mikel who was at the right place at the right time to fire a low shot to the back of the net.

Mikel rolled the ball home after a moment of hesitation by the Algerians in the 42nd minute of play.

The second half got underway with the Algerians pressing to reduce the deficit.

Mahrez was the man taking the game to the Nigerian side.

The winger ghosted past Elderson Echiejille before being stopped by the long legs of the reliable Balogun.

Brahimi also peppered the Nigerian defence from the left side with his pace and trickery as Algeria pegged  the Super Eagles in their own half.

In the 67th minute, Algeria got a deserved goal through Bentaleb from about 25 metres. Goalkeeper Akpeyi was well beaten.

The North Africans continued to be positive upfront and kept pushing for the leveler.

Nine minutes from time Akpeyi tipped a dangerous free kick from Mahrez for a corner kick to the visitors.

Nigeria extinguished Algeria’s hope of at least picking a point in the first minute of injury time.

Moses popped up at the near post to net the third goal for his country and a brace for himself.

The other group game between Cameroon and Zambia ended 1-1 in Limbe.

Nigeria Starters: Super Eagles Starters: Daniel Akpeyi, Kenneth Omeruo, Elderson Echiejille, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Ogenyi Onazi, Obi Mikel (c), Oghenekaro Etebo, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho

Algeria Starters: M’Bolhi, Ziti, Ghoulam, Belkaroui, Mandi, Medjani (c), Taider, Bentaleb, Mahrez, Brahimi, Slimani

Igho Kingsley

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