ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) – Madagascar pulled off one of the great shocks of the Africa Cup of Nations finals when they upset Nigeria 2-0 on Sunday to finish top of Group B and advance to the knockout stages.
A horrific defensive mistake and a wicked deflection from a free kick allowed the Indian Ocean islanders, making their tournament debut, to finish unbeaten ahead of both Nigeria and Guinea in the standings.
Lalaina Nomenjanahary took advantage of sloppy defending by Leon Balogun to open the scoring in the 13th minute and Carolus Andriamahitsinoro netted the second eight minutes into the second half.
Nigeria, one of the five African teams at last year’s World Cup, had won their opening two matches but looked flat and proved unable to respond after going behind in their third and face extensive soul searching after an embarrassing setback.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Clare Fallon)