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Nigeria Downs Liberia 2-0

Nigeria's chances of getting to the 2002 World Cup finals were given a huge lift on Saturday after they beat Liberia's Lone Star 2-0 in Port Harcourt.

The win moves the Super Eagles to within two points of Liberia, with two games left to play.

Nigeria have been in a state of disarray following the shock defeat to Sierra Leone two weeks ago which led to the sacking of their Dutch coach Jo Bonfrere.

But the players have answered their critics - and put the Super Eagles right back on course for a place in Japan and Korea.

Missed Chances

  Group B Table
1 Liberia P6 GD 8-6 Pts 12
3 Nigeria P6 GD 8-3 Pts 10
2 Sudan P5 GD 5-5 Pts 9
4 Ghana P4 GD 6-4 Pts 4
5 S Leone P5 GD1-10 Pts 3
Nigeria were in the driving seat from early in the game.

Kanu put the Eagles ahead in the 12th minute with an easy header in front of an empty net from a cross by Tijani Babangida.

Victor Agali missed several clear-cut chances in the first-half, but he made up for them with another header after he was served from the edge of the box by Finidi George early in the second half.

Liberia's strategy was to contain the fluid, short-passing game of the Eagles and go on the counter-attack, but the plan back-fired.

However, the Lone Star refused to bow down and continued to charging at the Nigerian defence, although they failed to create many chances.

Oliseh injured

George Weah was booked in the process as Liberia fought hard to keep up with the momentum.

Nigeria lost captain Sunday Oliseh through injury just before the break as he limped off after a clash mid-way in the first-half.

It could have been three goals for the host, but Agali with only the Liberian keeper to beat volleyed inches over the bar from 30 yards.

The Nigerians victory means that the group looks like going right down to the wire.

Liberia have possibly the more difficult final two games.

They face Ghana at home and then travel to Freetown to face Sierra Leone, who now have the reputation of being giant-killers.

Nigeria go to Sudan, and then have a home fixture against their historic West African rivals, Ghana.

Only the top placed team from each of the qualifying groups will go to the 2002 finals


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