Nigeria beaten at home in World Cup qualifying shock

Substitute Karl Namnganda, who plays in the fourth tier of French football, took advantage of a defensive mix-up between William Troost and Leon Balogun to score a stunning last-minute winner.

Central Africa Republic's players celebrate after scoring during the 2022 Qatar World Cup African qualifiers group 3 football match against Nigeria in Lagos.   -  AFP

Nigeria suffered a humiliating home defeat in World Cup qualification on Thursday as the Central African Republic grabbed a last-minute winner for a shock victory in Lagos.

Substitute Karl Namnganda, who plays in the fourth tier of French football, took advantage of a defensive mix-up between William Troost and Leon Balogun to score a stunning winner and throw the qualifying section wide open.

The upset overshadowed the rest of the day’s African qualifiers where there was also a significant win for tiny Equatorial Guinea over Zambia and a third successive victory for Tunisia.

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Norwegian-based striker Ibrahima Kone netted a hat-trick for Mali as it thrashed Kenya 5-0 while Benin’s win in Tanzania put the nation in pole position in their group.

Nigeria had won its opening matches in Group C and was expected to push further ahead at the expense of lowly Central African Republic, which was without its only recognised star Geoffrey Kondogbia of Atletico Madrid, who is refusing to play because of the poor organisation around the team.

Victor Osimhen hit the post early in the second half for Nigeria and fluffed another chance but the Super Eagles were largely subdued in what was expected to be a routine home assignment.

It was the biggest win in the Central African Republic’s football history as the team moved to four points.

Nigeria still leads the group on six points but Cape Verde's 2-1 win in Liberia, where Garry Rodrigues rifled home a stoppage-time winner, also puts the nation on four points.

Tunisia kept up its 100% record after three games in Group B as they beat Mauritania 3-0 at home, with second-placed Equatorial Guinea three points back.

Mali shrugged off having to cede home advantage and play in Agadir, Morocco because of the poor condition of their stadia as it hammered Kenya and is two points ahead of Uganda in Group E. Uganda won 1-0 earlier on Thursday away to Rwanda.

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In Group J, Benin remain two points clear of the Democratic Republic of Congo as both teams won.

Steve Mounie scored a 71st minute winner for Benin away to Tanzania, while the Congolese were 2-0 home winners over Madagascar in Kinshasa.

There are six more African qualifiers on Friday as teams battle it out in 10 groups, with only the section winners advancing to the playoffs in March to decide the five African representatives at the Qatar 2022 finals.

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