Nigeria misses out on 2012 Cup of Nations

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African Nations Cup

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP)—Two-time champion Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations after a 2-2 draw at home with Guinea on Saturday, with the visitors going through to the continental showpiece instead as Group B winner.

Guinea led at the National Stadium in Abuja through Ismael Bangoura’s 54th-minute goal, meaning the Super Eagles needed to score three to overtake the Guineans at the top of the group on goal difference and earn an automatic place in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea next year.

Victor Obinna and Ikechukwu Uche hit back with goals inside a seven-minute spell to put Nigeria 2-1 ahead but Ibrahima Diallo’s equalizer in the 95th minute—after the referee had added six minutes of injury time—confirmed Guinea’s place.

Nigeria cannot qualify as one of the two best second-placed teams as Sudan and Libya already have better records.

Nigeria, four-time champion Cameroon and record seven-time winner and holder Egypt will all miss next year’s tournament after failing to qualify.

Obinna’s long-range strike in the 64th minute had given the Super Eagles hope and Uche’s goal brought the host within one goal of a dramatic comeback that would have put it through to the continental championship on goal difference.

But Diallo’s equalizer kept Guinea three points clear at the top of Group B to ensure Nigeria missed out for the first time since 1998.

Also, Ethiopia beat Madagascar 4-2 to finish third in the four-team group.

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