Nigeria defeats Ethiopia 4-1 on aggregate to clinch spot in Brazil
Ã‚Â ByÃ‚Â Kirsten Schlewitz
Nigeria are through to their fifth World Cup in the past two decades, thanks to a 4-1 aggregate win over Ethiopia. The Super Eagles win was really no surprise, given that they came to Nigeria with a 2-1 victory. But goals fromÃ‚Â Victor MosesÃ‚Â and Victor ObinnaÃ‚Â sealed the deal, and Nigeria are now free to book themselves tickets to Brazil Ã¢â‚¬â€ after a crazy party, one hopes.
The first goal came 20 minutes into the first half, when Victor Moses stepped up to the spot in hopes of putting a Nigeria win out of reach. He sent his penalty kick low and to his right, while Ethiopia goalkeeperÃ‚Â Sisay Bancha went the other way. The Super EaglesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ second came courtesy of the man who had replaced Moses just minutes before. Victor Obinna sent in a lovely free kick, albeit straight at the keeper. Bancha should have done better but the ball seemed to fly through the keeperÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fingers, landing in the back of the netÃ¢â‚¬Â¦or possibly in Brazil.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a smidgen of sadness surrounding this one, at least for the neutrals. For Ethiopia, it must be more than a smidgen. They were the continentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cinderella story.Ã‚Â After finally qualifying this year for their first Africa Cup of Nations in over 30 years, they had a chance to make it to their first ever World Cup.Ã‚Â The Walias were the last remaining team to make it through from the first round of qualifiers, the ones that AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lesser-ranked sides must go through. They made it through a tough match against Nigeria only to see a harsh penalty awarded that gave the visitors the lead. And in this match, the first goal came in the same manner, with the referee calling a handball onÃ‚Â Aynalem Hailu, the same player who conceded the last minute penalty in the first leg.
But, however much the fans might want a fairy tale ending, players and coaches arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t paid to deliver one. NigeriaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mission was to make it to Brazil, no matter what good storylines they might wreck while getting there. The Super Eagles accomplished that mission, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s now time forÃ‚Â Stephen Keshi to concentrate on how to ready his side to face the best in the world.
Original article appeared on NBCSports