- Madagascar with two un-replied goals tops group B
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have known their standing on the African Cup of Nations Group B table after a two nil loss to minnows Madagascar also nicknamed Barea on match day three in Alexandria, Egypt.
Conceding a goal in each half to the boys from Antananarivo, the Nigerians were edged from the group’s leadership spot to become the runner-up.
Guinea defeated bottom placed Burundi to end the first round on four points after three games.
With seven points, Madagascar left the stadium with shoulders high though the Nigerians already qualified to the knockout stage after two matches.
The other group B game between Burundi and Guinea ended with same margin as Madagascar versus Nigeria with Guinea being the better side.
Guinea with four points may pick a best loser’s slot to escape into the knockout stage of the tournament.
Nigeria’s Skipper, Ahmed Musa after the match said financial issue was not reason for the team’s loss since that was already settled.
“As you can see everything has been resolved and I don’t see that is anything about any problem. We played well and they also played well, I think they are luckier,” Musa said.
Before today Nigeria has never conceded a goal to Madagascar in 50 years and the result was a shocker to fans who obviously were disappointed.
“The reasons are I think Madagascar today was the major team, they have more fighting spirit and they had big motivation,” Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr told a reporter after the match on Sunday.
Rohr who appeared unworried continued that, “My team already qualified and we had to rest half of the team that played against Guinea and I think this result is okay.
Analysing the match, the German said, “They don’t have more shot at our goal, I think and we had more of the ball possession but nothing was really more efficient and noting was really interesting for us.
“It is good that some players had to take some rest today but now the next game is really more important, we will stay here in Alexandria and wait for the result of other game.
“I am sure in the next game my team will be in greater motivation than today. We have to recover and work harder. Congrats to Madagascar. We have to improve and work hard and we must be ready for the knock out stage.
“The most important is to be qualified and to have our team fit for the next round,” he said.
Nigeria is ranked 45th in the world while Madagascar is ranked 108th footballing nation according to recent FIFA ranking.