Int'l Football Sports

World Cup qualifier: Brahimi controversial penalty denies Super Eagles victory in Algeria

Algeria held Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in their final Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifying series at the Stade Mohamed-Hamlaoui on Friday evening.

A late spot-kick from captain Yacine Brahimi cancelled out John Ogu’s stunning 62nd minute opener to deprive Gernot Rohr’s side – already qualified for the quadrennial showpiece – their second away victory of a successful campaign.

Both sides threatened with their opening exchanges as Islam Slimani directed a firm header off target just after 23 seconds while his Leicester teammate Iheanacho’s cross from the right found no one at the other end.

Algeria through their front trio of Riyad Mahrez, Slimani and Brahimi then piled pressure on the visitors’ defence but all yielded no result.

Carl Medjani’s 12th minute piledriver off a corner strayed off target with Ikechuwkwu Ezenwa unshaken. And in the 33rd minute, Abdullahi Shehu’s clearance off a right-wing cross – with Slimani waiting to bury into an unguarded net – ensured the Super Eagles were still in the game.

The first half revolved around the Eagles’ half with Nwakaeme less involved in the game until two minutes before the interval when he had a left-footed effort off Iheanacho’s freekick saved by Faouzi Chaouchi.

Early in the second half, Rabah Madjer’s men threatened first through Slimani but Balogun was on hand to thwart his effort after a smart Mahrez freekick. Moments later, Chaouchi matched Iwobi’s quality after saving the Arsenal man left-footed drive from the edge of the area. But there was nothing the goalkeeper could do in the 62nd minute when Ogu bent an effort into the net from distance to hand Rohr’s men the lead.

However, with four minutes before full time, Brahimi equalised from the spot for the Algerians after the Porto man was adjudged to have been fouled by Shehu Abdullahi.

The game ended in a draw and it gave Madjer’s men their first point in six qualifying games while the Super Eagles finished the series unbeaten.