Copa Lagos: Suleiman saves Nigeria from Lebanon
Nigeria picked up another thrilling win in front of their home fans at the Copa Lagos on Saturday as Suleiman Mohammad’s late strike ensured a 9-8 victory over Lebanon.
The hosts sit joint-top with Sunday’s opponents Spain after edging a tight contest that saw the lead exchange hands regularly prior to Suleiman’s exquisite late volley, which leaves Lebanon to battle it out with Morocco for third place.
Less than a minute in, captain Mohamad Merhi put Lebanon in front before Moustafa El Zein’s overhead kick doubled the advantage to leave the home crowd stunned.
Abu Azeez was the man to reduce the deficit with a well-taken finish before team-mate Suleiman levelled matters, if only for a matter of seconds as El Zein found the bottom right-hand corner.
Emeka Ogbonna managed to prod home an equaliser seconds before the interval before skipper Victor Tale’s bobbling effort found its way past Mohamed Choker.
The scores were quickly back level when Hussein Abdullah found the target in acrobatic fashion before El Zein produced another stunning overhead kick to put Lebanon back in front.
Emmanuel had Nigeria’s answer, finding the top corner unmarked from range, with Tale joining him in what as fast becoming the game of the day.
The first goal of the third period fell to Nigeria – Abu’s scissor kick giving the hosts a two-goal cushion – prior to Emeke’s prodded effort, which give Lebanon a mountain to climb.
Lebanon responded through Houssein Zayoun before another stunning effort from Merhi dragged them within a goal going into the final five minutes before the visitors benefited from a slice of fortune as El Zein’s deflected effort brought the sides level.
However, Suleiman’s improvised volley proved the winner just over a minute from time as Nigeria set up a winner-takes-all clash with Spain on Sunday.
Goals: 0-1: M. Merhi, min. 11 (1); 0-2: M. El Zein, min. 9 (1); 1-2: Abu, min. 8 (1); 2-2: Suleiman, min. 4 (1); 2-3: El Zein, min. 4 (1); 3-3: Emeka, min. 0 (1); 4-3: Tale, min. 7 (2); 4-4: H. Abdullah, min. 7 (2); 4-5: El Zein, min. 5 (2); 5-5: Emmanuel, min. 4 (2); 6-5: Tale, min. 4 (2); 7-5: Abu, min. 8 (3); 8-5: Emeka, min. 5 (3); 8-6: H. Zayoun, min. 5 (3); 8-7: M. Merhi, min. 5 (3); 8-8: El Zein, min. 3 (3); 9-8: Suleiman, min. 1 (3)
Copa Lagos 2017
15:00 – Kebbi BSC 9-4 Gidi Sharks
16:15 – Spain 8-5 Morocco
18:00 – Arsenal BSC 2-3 Pepsi Football Academy
19:15 – Nigeria 9-8 Lebanon
15:00 – Pepsi Football Academy v Kebbi BSC
16:15 – Lebanon v Morocco
18:00 – Gidi Sharks v Arsenal BSC
19:15 – Nigeria v Spain