Super Eagles immune to Mamba venom

Mozambique had two goals disallowed when held 0-0 by Nigeria on Sunday in a 2010 World Cup-Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Mozambique had two goals disallowed when held 0-0 by Nigeria on Sunday in a 2010 World Cup-Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Veteran striker Dario Monteiro from South African club Mamelodi Sundowns was the unluckiest footballer on the artificial Machava Stadium pitch in Maputo as he netted twice during the first half only to be ruled offside each time.

While the Mozambican Mambas did not protest too much when an early Monteiro header was disallowed, the decision of the Eritrean match officials to disallow another goal caused a stir.

Mozambique looked more likely to break the deadlock before a sellout 35000 crowd while under-strength Nigeria demonstrated their experience with solid defending throughout.

Nigeria included young Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel in their starting lineup after he had been doubtful for the Group B fixture owing to a throat infection.

But defensive general Joseph Yobo from Everton was ruled out by injury for the opening third-round qualifier as were fellow defender Yusuf Mohammed and Germany-based striker Chinedu Obasi.

Mozambique coach Mart Nooij from the Netherlands relied on local stars plus professionals based in Egypt and South Africa as his team pursue a first World Cup appearance.

That dream seems a long shot even with five fixtures to go, but the 2-1 home loss suffered by Kenya against Tunisia on Saturday gave Mozambique an early boost in their bid to reach the Afcon for the first time in 12 years.

Group winners qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the first to be staged on the continent.

The teams finishing first, second and third in the groups go to the Afcon Cup in Angola earlier the same year.

Nigeria will host Kenya while Mozambique visit Tunisia in the second series of fixtures during June. - Sapa-AFP

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