The Super Eagles of Nigeria missed out on the FIFA World Cup qualification for the first time since 2006 after they played out a 1-1 draw with Ghana at the National Stadium in Abuja on Tuesday evening.
The Super Eagles had before now played in six of the last seven FIFA World Cup, with the Germany 2006 edition the only exception.
However, this time around, rivals Ghana were the only blockage between them and a ticket to Qatar. Led by coach Austin Eguavoen, Nigeria needed to win outright to secure qualification after a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Kumasi on Friday.
Unfortunately, Ghana started the game ahead in front of a noisy 60,000 fans in the stadium after Arsenal midfielder Tomas party hit a long-range shot that beat Francis Uzoho in goal.
Nigeria went close almost immediately, with Osihmen beating the Ghanaian defence and hitting a shot wide narrowly. Nigeria got the equaliser when the video assistant referee intervened and spotted a tackle on Ademola Lookman, who was stepped on in the box.
Watford defender and Nigerian skipper William Troost-Ekong stepped up to hit the penalty and scored. However, Nigeria could not find a way through for the rest of the game as Napoli striker Victor Osimhen was the closest to any goal-scoring chance by Nigeria.
After 90 minutes, it was Ghana who qualified for the World Cup on the away goals rule.
In other fixtures, Senegal beat Egypt on penalties to qualify for the World Cup. The Senegalese scored early in the game to go level on aggregate after losing the first leg in Egypt by one goal to nil.
Penalties were needed to separate both sides, and after a series of missed penalties, Sadio Mane scored the decisive one to send Senegal through.
Morocco beat DR Congo 4-1 while Cameroon got a 2-1 win in Algeria after extra time to qualify on away goals.
Meanwhile, Tunisia and Mali played out a 0-0 draw, which sent Tunisia through to the World Cup.
Written by: Daniel Ademiju Idowu