As the year 2019 runs to an end, it is also noteworthy that it is the end of yet another decade of beautiful football moments. Between the year 2010 and 2019, three FIFA World Cup tournaments, six African Cup of Nations championships and a host of other qualifying matches, friendly ties and Confederations Cup games have been played, some of which saw the Super Eagles produced some fine displays.
Soccernet Nigeria brings you the ten most memorable matches played by our darling national team within the last ten years.
Aside from two 6-1 thrashings of Liberia and Tahiti, this was Nigeria’s biggest competitive win of the last decade and it came against no other foe but eternal rivals, Cameroon.
It was not a friendly tie but a crucial 2018 World Cup qualifying game with a win certain to edge Nigeria closer to a sixth World Cup appearance.
The Indomitable Lions started ever so brightly but after the visitors failed to convert any of their chances, Nigeria grew in confidence and it was no surprise when former Granada striker Odion Ighalo latched onto a loose ball, shook off his defender and unleashed an accurate left-foot strike to open the home side’s account and from then on there was no turning back for the Super Eagles.
John Obi Mikel sent the Uyo fans wild when he put the home side two goals up at the close of the half, being alert to fire into the roof of the Cameroon net from a corner.
Victor Moses and Moses Simon expertly linked up throughout the game and the pair were instrumental in the third goal as the then Chelsea player slotted passed Ondoa, in Cameroon’s goal.
Soon after, Moses turned provider for the fourth with a pin-point delivery onto the head of Kelechi Iheanacho to seal a memorable evening for Nigerian football.
Nigeria 2 – 1 Ivory Coast
A Didier Drogba-inspired Ivory Coast, the highest-ranked side in Africa at the time, were the clear favourites when they faced Nigeria at the quarterfinal stage of the 2013 African Cup of Nations.
Coach Stephen Keshi had been widely criticized for departing for the tournament with a largely experimental squad and when pitted against one of the tournament’s favourites, it appeared as though it was the end of the road for the young coach.
However, Super Eagles striker Emmanuel Emenike didn’t read the script as he opened the scoring just before half-time, smashing a thunderous effort past Boubacar Barry in the Ivorian goal.
But the Elephants had classy stars littered all over the pitch and shortly after the break, midfielder Cheick Tiote dragged the Elephants back on levelled terms after heading home from Didier Drogba’s free-kick.
Still, the Super Eagles did not despair and their winner arrived when little-known Sunday Mba sealed Nigeria’s win with a shot deflected in off Sol Bamba.
The result pushed Nigeria through to their fifth semi-final in seven Nations Cup appearances, while sending Didier Drogba into early international retirement.