ALEXANDRIA, March 29 – Nigeria crashed out of contention to reach the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon after they lost 1-0 to Egypt in Alexandria on Tuesday.
It’s the second successive tournament the three-time champions have missed out on although last time they missed out as reigning title-holders.
Egypt, with seven points from three matches, now need only a point from their final group game against Tanzania in June to qualify for the finals.
Nigeria have only two points from three games and can no longer qualify, while minnows Tanzania would need to win their two remaining matches to have any chance of piping Egypt to the finals.
Teenager Radwan Sobhi, who was picked ahead of Anderlecht striker Mahmoud Hassan, grabbed the all-important goal in the 65th minute, when his toed effort from just inside the box trickled past goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
England-based Victor Moses saw his shot crash against the post beyond the Egypt goalkeeper in the 84th minute, but it came back into play.
But generally, Nigeria did not do enough to really trouble the Egyptian goal.
Egypt created the better chances in the first half but Nigeria also had their moments at a packed Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria.
Egypt created two early openings when Ahmed Hegazy headed narrowly wide after five minutes and almost immediately skipper Abdallah Al-Said also missed the target from inside the box.
In the closing minutes of the first half, Akpeyi pulled off two big saves from Ibrahim Salah and Al-Said.