Debutants of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the Barea of Madagascar has posted a 2-0 victory over the Super Eagles of Nigeria to clinch top spot on the Group B standings which has seen them qualifying to the knockout stage of the tournament.
The debutants shocked the Super Eagles just 13 minutes into the game following a composed equalizer from attacker Lalaina Nomenjanahary. The player picked the pocket of Nigeria defender Leon Balogun, calmly went past the approaching goalkeeper before slotting his shot into an empty goal post.
After taking the lead, Madagascar took charge of the match and dominated throughout the remaining minutes of the first half.
Despite starting the second half in high spirit, Nigeria still fell short in most parts of the game with their opponent constantly upsetting and pegging them into their own half with some nice piece of inter-passing play.
Pacey attacker Carolus Andriamahitsinoro added to the woes of the formal champions by adding a second goal for his side on the 53rd minute. His well-taken free-kick deflected off a Nigerian defender in the human wall, beating goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa who was already in motion to the other side of the goal post.
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr tried to change things from the substitute bench but all the players he introduced could not offer the desired impact. The winners held on to eventually win the match with a two-goal cushion.
The result means Madagascar who was tagged underdogs has won Group B with 7 points. Nigeria and Guinea come in second and third with 6 and 4 points respectively.
Madagascar and Nigeria are through to the round of 16 but Guinea will have to wait until the end of all last round matches to secure their spot.