The Super Eagles of Nigeria are on the verge of breaking new grounds if they put up another sterling performance against bitter rivals South Africa on Wednesday.
The 3-time African champions clinched a semi final spot with a 1-0 victory over The Black Antelopes of Angola on Friday, courtesy of Ademola Lookman’s 41st minute strike from close range, his 3rd of the tournament.
Their opponents on Wednesday on the other hand, had to go through a more difficult path; a 2-1 penalty shootout success against Cape Verde’s Blue Sharks, after regular and extra time ended barren on Saturday night.
Should the Jose Peseiro tutored team prevent the Bafana Bafana from breaching their net, it would be the first time a Super Eagles team has kept 5 successive clean sheets in an Afcon tournament.
Friday’s 1-0 win put these sets of Eagles in elite company by equalling a clean sheet record that has stood for 22 years and one that has only been repeated just twice in history until now.
Let’s take a dive through the history books:
* Nigeria’s first continental title came on home soil in 1980 and to accomplish that, the then Green Eagles kept 4 successive clean sheets en route to glory.
After a 3-1 win in their opening game, the Eagles drew goalless with Ivory Coast in their second match before pipping Egypt 1-0 to book a semi final spot.
Another slim 1-0 win over Morocco secured a final place for the Eagles, who went on to demolish Algeria 3-0 in the final with goals coming from Segun Odegbami (2x) and Muda Lawal.
* At the 2002 Afcon in Mali, the Super Eagles started off their Group A clash with a 1-0 win over Algeria, with Julius Aghahowa’s first half strike the difference between both sides.
A barren draw against the host Mali was followed by another Julius Aghahowa’s solitary goal in the second half for a 1-0 victory over minnows Liberia in their 3rd group game.
Garba Lawal became a national hero when his 80th minute effort settled the tie in Nigeria’s favour against arch rivals Ghana in their quarter final fixture.
The Eagles went on to lose the semi final encounter with Senegal 2-1 after extra time, but will later ended the tournament with a Bronze medal following a 1-0 win over Mali in the 3rd place match.
* At the current installment of Africa’s Flagship football event in Ivory Coast, the Super Eagles have kept consecutive clean sheets against Ivory Coast (1-0), Guinea-Bissau (1-0), Cameroon (2-0) and Angola (1-0).
Can these sets of Eagles go one better on Wednesday at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake against South Africa?
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