KIGALI, June 5 (Reuters) - Striker Obafemi Martins scrambled
a late equaliser to save Nigeria from a shock World Cup
qualifying defeat in Rwanda on Sunday.
Martins beat the offside trap to slot home a goal on the
breakaway with just 11 minutes left, earning Nigeria a 1-1 draw
in the African zone World Cup Group Four qualifier.
Rwanda looked on course for an upset when Jimmy Gatete put
them ahead eight minutes into the second half, finishing
superbly at the end of mazy run through the Nigerian defence.
Gatete had nearly opened the scoring just two minutes
earlier when he sneaked in behind defender Obinna Nwaneri but
lost control of the ball with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Nigeria, playing without captain Austin Okocha and striker
Yakubu Aiyegbeni who failed to turn up for the match, looked
lethargic and were hampered by the difficult pitch conditions.
Captain Nwankwo Kanu was taken off just after the hour mark
and Martins rarely received any service.
Nigeria defender Joseph Yobo had an effort cleared off the
line by Rwanda in the 72nd minute before Inter Milan's Martins
grabbed the equaliser.
The result kept Nigeria top of the standings but only on
goal difference from Angola, who beat Algeria 2-1 in Luanda on