By Kunle Adedoyin
The Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, Sunday pulled off one of the great shocks of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after defeating the Super Eagles of Nigeria, 2-0 to finish top of group B.
The newcomers, who had never scored against the Super Eagles, defeated the three-time champions 2-0 on Sunday at the Alexandria Stadium to advance to the knockout stages.
The Super Eagles had the bigger share of possession and had an effort on goal in the early stages.
Odion Ighalo was fouled metres away from the box. Ahmed Musa took the free kick which went off target.
Madagascar went a goal up after a mix up at the back in the 12th minute. Leon Balogun was slow to John Ogu’s diagonal pass and Lalaina Nomenjanahary stole the ball, rounded past goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa before firing to the empty net.
The Eagles surged forward in numbers and searched for the equalizer. Samuel Kalu tried a shot from the edge of the box but his effort went inches wide.
Musa also wasted the chance to equalize. Oghenekaro Etebo stole the ball near the Madagascar box, his pass found Ahmed Musa who couldn’t score.
It was 1-0 in favour of Madagascar at halftime.
Madagascar scored their second goal from a free kick in the 52nd minute through Carolus Andriamatsinoro.
Substitute Wilfred Ndidi tried a shot from inside the box but the goalkeeper saved it.
Madagascar finished top of the group in their first ever appearance at the AFCON while Nigeria qualified as runners-up.