The final match of Group B served up an upset, as Madagascar stunned Nigeria 2-0 in Alexandria on Sunday evening.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles were the first team to secure qualification to the knockout stage, but still needed at least a draw to secure top spot in the group, while Madagascar had put themselves on the cusp of history with their victory over Burundi in the previous match.
The Barea were gifted an early lead in the 13th minute. Leon Balogun misjudged an innocuous pass across the top of the box from John Ogu and was caught dallying by Lalaina Nomenjanahary, who calmly rounded Nigeria goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa and slotted home.
Samuel Kalu curled an effort wide of the far post after cutting in on his left foot, but on the whole Nigeria were unable to create many clear-cut chances. The best of the match, however, fell to Ahmed Musa: played in by Etebo, the Al-Nassr man elected to round the goalkeeper rather than take a shot first time, but the Madagascar defence recovered in time to thwart him.
Madagascar would then extend their lead eight minutes into the second half. Substitute Wilfred Ndidi, having given away the free-kick, was unfortunate to see Carolus Andriamatsinoro’s free-kick deflect off him and completely wrongfoot Ezenwa, the ball going in off the upright.
The result means the AFCON debutants top the group, ahead of three-time champions Nigeria.