Nigeria edge Ethiopia, Cameroon held
ESPN FC: Elephants edge closer
African champions Nigeria scored a late penalty to come from behind and seal a 2-1 win over Ethiopia in the first leg of their CAF World Cup playoff.
A goalless first-half saw Ethiopia on top throughout, and they took a deserved lead when Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama misjudged a cross from Behailu Assefa in the 56th minute and let the ball over the line. It was adjudged to have crossed the line before the 'keeper could claw it out, but looked somewhat controversial.
The Super Eagles hit back just over ten minutes later, however, when Emmanuel Emenike hammered home a powerful 25-yard shot despite goalkeeper Jemal Tassew getting a hand to the ball.
Ahmed Musa went close to a second for Nigeria when he lashed the ball past Tassew but against the near post.
For Ethiopia, Saladin Ahmed failed to control a dangerous cross in front of goal and Addis Hintsa could not make meaningful contact with a header when equally well placed.
But Nigeria gained a vital advantage to take into next month's second leg when Aynalem Hailu hauled down Emenike in the box and the striker casually rolled home the penalty.
Tunisia and Cameroon shared an eventful goalless draw in their first leg in Rades.
Tunisia were unable to profit from a strong first-half display, with Cameroon goalkeeper Charles Itandje standing firm.
The PAOK Salonika stopper denied Yassine Chikhaoui straight from the kick-off and again from a close-range header as the hosts started strongly. Cameroon's Jean Makoun blasted wide just before half-time when he should really have hit the target and Samuel Eto'o then drilled in a free-kick which was well fielded by keeper Moez Ben Cherifia.
Fakhreddine Ben Youssouf headed wide from six yards for Tunisia and Itandje parried Alaeddine Yahia's bullet header.
An extraordinary miss quickly followed at the other end as a sliding Pierre Webo was unable to convert from a yard out, the ball running wide off his thigh.
Cameroon were also denied a penalty 10 minutes from time as a stumbling Sameh Derbaly dived across the run of Eto'o and hooked the ball away with his left arm, but escaped punishment.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.