Liverpool's Internationals Recap: Nigeria Get Emenike Brace in Narrow Win

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Victor Moses' Nigeria started slowly, but an improved second-half performance and a brace from Emmanuel Emenike--including a penalty in the dying minutes--gave them a narrow 2-1 victory.

Ethiopia 1: Assefe 59'
Nigeria 2: Emenike 67' 90' (pen.)

Nigeria had been heavily favored heading into the match, but aside from the opening few minutes, it was the hosts who dominated the first half and had a decent shout to be up a goal headed into the break. Saladine Said latched onto a ball over the top and flicked past the impressive Vincent Enyeama, only for Godfrey Obobona to clear off the line at the last possible moment to keep the match at 0-0. The chance wasn't a one-off for Ethiopia, who played some impressive stuff despite the poor pitch and could have had a goal or two aside from Said's nearly moment.

They eventually would take the lead in strange circumstances--Mengitsu Assefa floated a cross toward Enyeama, who'd wandered off his line a step too far. The flight of the ball drifted back toward the goalmouth, and while Enyeama was able to catch it he'd sunk to the point that the catch was made behind the goalline, giving Ethiopia the lead. Nigeria were improved from there and equalized less than ten minutes later, with Emmanuel Emenike's blistering strike beating Jemal Tassew for power.

The final twenty minutes were back and forth, with Nigeria getting the best chance through Ahmed Musa, who adjusted wonderfully to a strange bounce and still managed to beat Tassew and crash one off the post. It looked to end level as normal time nearly expired, but Emenike was dragged down in the 89th minute and calmly rolled in the resulting penalty for the 2-1 win.

Victor Moses played a full ninety was replaced on 67 minutes and was bright at times, but with Nigeria underwhelming for most of the opening hour, there was little to take away from a fairly flat performance by the visitors other than the advantage for the second leg. Nigeria will host Ethiopia on November 16 in the tie's second leg.

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