The Super Eagles of Nigeria defeated Zimbabwe 1-0 to clinch the third-place position of the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cape Town, South Africa, on Saturday.
Chinonso Abiozor’s late winner against a ten-man Warriors made the difference after some lack of precision in front of goal by the Nigerians.
However, credit must be accorded to the Zimbabweans, who kept a compact defence throughout the duration of the game.
Masimba Mambare was shown a straight red card by referee Victor Gomes in the 17th minute for a reckless tackle on goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim.
The hard-working Abiozor almost placed the West Africans in the lead on 36 minutes, when his powerful shot was parried back into play by the Zimbabwean goalie George Chigova.
Abubakar Ibrahim then tested Chigova with another fierce shot form outside the box which went wide.
Kwambe Solomon’s long-range free-kick flew over the bar, as Nigeria mount pressure on their opponent, in a bid to justify the numerical advantage.
Chrisantus Ejike and Ibrahim couldn’t prove a point with some good goal-scoring opportunities before Kudakwashe Mahachi ran through the Eagles defence, but his angle shot failed to beat Agbim.
Nigeria’s goal finally came in the 85th minute when Obiozor’s smart header beat Chigova into the net.
Eagles’ debut appearance in the continental tournament organised for players in the domestic league, would however be rewarded with a sum of USD250,000 by the organisers, for coming third- so also is the fourth-placed Warriors.