Monday, June 30, 2014 7:36 pm
Two goals in the closing 10 minutes from Paul Pogba and a Joseph Yobo own goal saw France overcome Nigeria in Brasilia in a second round match of the World Cup.
Both nations made a bright start to the match, winning a corner each in the opening five minutes but failing to trouble the respective goalkeepers.
The end to end battle would continue and Nigeria should have taken the lead after 20 minutes only for Emmanuel Emenike’s sliding effort to be ruled out for offiside, though replays showed Patrice Evra may have played the Fernabahce striker onside.
France would go close to breaking the deadlock next through a first-time shot from Pogba headed for the top corner three minutes later but Vincent Enyeama managed to tip the ball over.
The end to end nature of the match continued with Valbuena forcing a save from Enyeama while at the other end Hugo Lloris punched clear a shot from Emmanuel Emenike and watch with relief as Victor Moses fumbled the rebound out of play as the entertaining half came to a goalless conclusion.
The Super Eagles made the brighter start to the second half, laying siege on the French goal but letting themselves down with the final ball each time.
Striker Osaze Odemwingie soon had a low left foot shot kept out by Lloris and cleared by the French defence as Nigeria seemed more likely to break the deadlock.
France however gained the momentum after Odemwingie’s chance, with Yohan Cabaye crashing a shot from the edge of the area off the crossbar and Victor Moses making a goal-line clearance from a goalbound Karim Benzema shot.
Enyeama then tipped over Benzema header and Antoine Griezmann shot as France piled on the pressure, which was duly rewarded im the 80th minute when Pogba headed in from the far post after Enyeama flapped a Valbuena cornerkick.
The goal killed the spirit of the Super Eagles and after Odemwingie conceded a needless cornerkick, Joseph Yobo turned in a Valbuena ball in under pressure from substitute Griezmann.
With the win, France will next meet the winner of tonight’s second round match between Germany and Algeria.
NIG 0 – 2 FRA