Irate fans invaded the main bowl of the Moshood Abiola Stadium destroying everything in sight immediately after Nigeria’s 1-1 draw against Ghana on Tuesday, which ended the Super Eagles dream of reaching a seventh World Cup appearance in Qatar in November.
Ghana qualified for the World Cup thanks to the away goal rule after the first leg at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi ended goalless.
Eagles coach Austin Eguavoen made four changes to the team that earned a goalless draw at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi Friday, with Ademola Lookman on for Moses Simon, while Dennis Simon replaced the injured Samuel Chukwueze, Frank Onyeka taking the place of Kelechi Iheanacho and Calvin Bassey made his full debut ahead of Zaidu Sanusi.
Despite the Eagles bright start in front of a fully packed 60,000 capacity Abuja stadium, the Black Stars took the lead through captain Thomas Partey in the 11th minute, the Arsenal midfielder unleashing a fierce low drive, which squeezed through the diving Francis Uzoho’s hands.
Nigeria began to mount pressure on their opponents immediately after going behind and began to carve out chances in search of the equaliser.
The three-time African champions had a penalty disallowed in Kumasi by VAR after the referee had initially blew for a penalty, but in the second leg on Tuesday, they were rewarded, after Ademola Lookman was brought down inside the box.
Captain William Troost-Ekong converted the resultant penalty kick, coolly sending goalkeeper Joseph Wollacott the wrong way to draw level in the 22nd minute and send home fans at the packed stadium into a frenzy.
Striker Victor Osimhen thought he had given the Eagles the lead in the 36th minute, after the Napoli man met a long range pass from Leon Balogun near the halfway line and bullied his way past his markers and Wollacott, but VAR ruled the goal for offside.
The Eagles put virtually every foot wrong thereafter and lacked organisation, as coach Austin Eguavoen and his assistants looked helplessly on from the bench.
Fans, however, vented their anger on the celebrating Black Stars players, pelting them with water bottles until they found a way out of the newly renovated pitch.
After chasing the Ghanaians off, they then started pulling the grass as well as destroying the technical area and breaking the glass.
Efforts by security operatives to dispatch the mob by firing teargas canisters was in vain, as the fans wreaked more havoc, pelting the VIP stand from pitch side with different objects.
ViA The Punch