Despite the massive support given, the Super Eagles have failed to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup after playing out a 1-1 draw with the Black Stars of Ghana at a fully parked National Stadium in Abuja.
With the whole nation behind the team including President Muhammadu Buhari who was physically present at the national stadium, Nigeria broke their hearts by missing out on the plane to Qatar.
Ghana shocked the 60,000 cheering spectators when Thomas Partey unleased a shot from 20 yards that surprisingly went past goalkeeper Francis Uzoho into the net for the first goal of the fixture.
Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho who was jittery throughout the game failed to stop the shot from the Arsenal man.
Stunned by that goal, the Nigerian side made frantic forays into their opponents’ box but yet again, the final cutting edge was missing.
Again, the three-time African champions spurred on by the fans in the stadium began to camp in Ghana’s half and following a foul on Victor Osimhen, the centre referee consulted the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) few minutes after the game had continued.
Captain Troost Ekong stepped up in the 22nd minute to give his side a life. He skillfully dispatched the penalty to make the scoreline 1-1.
Osimhen who was sorely missed in Cameroon got himself a freekick but wasn’t utilised well by Ademola Lookman who hit the Ghanaian wall.
A few minutes later, Osimhen thought he had scored the second goal but the center referee cut the joys of Nigerians short after consulting the VAR to rule out the goal for offside.
At the restart of the second half with tension rising, there were some moments of palpable fear with the Super Eagles seeing their hopes of qualifying diminishing by the minute.
All efforts by the players to score failed with their opponents employing dark arts of football to delay time as Nigerian miss out on €12.2m (N5.6bn) they would have received from FIFA.
Meanwhile, angered by the loss, fans went berserk, invaded the pitch and started destroying everything within the pitch. This forced the security agencies to release tear gas to disperse the fans. The actions of the fans forced the players to run for their lives as bottles were thrown at them.