Nigeria Suffer First Competitive Home Defeat Since 1981

Nigeria lost a competitive home game for the first time in 33 years as they began their African Nations Cup title defence in disappointing fashion with a 3-2 qualifying defeat by Congo in Calabar on Saturday.

French-born striker Thievy Bifouma scored twice and captain Prince Oniangue grabbed the other goal as Nigeria lost at home in a competitive fixture for the first time since being beaten 2-0 by Algeria in a World Cup qualifier in Lagos in 1981.

They had never lost before in a home qualifier in the Nations Cup.

With a possible ban from world soccer's ruling body FIFA hanging over them for government interference in football federation matters, Nigeria were caught out in their opening Group A game for the 2015 finals in Morocco.

Efe Ambrose headed the hosts in front after 13 minutes but Oniangue equalised three minutes later.

Bifouma, who had a brief spell on loan at English Premier League West Bromwich Albion last season, put Congo 2-1 ahead in the 40th minute before he converted a penalty in the 54th.

Gbolahan Salami then gave the scoreline a more respectable look for Nigeria with an 86th-minute goal.

The champions next travel to Cape Town on Wednesday to face South Africa who defeated Sudan 3-0 in the other Group A match on Friday.

Source: Reuters
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