“Miracle of Dammam” (World Youth Championship Semi Finals in Saudi Arabia 89): This match is regarded as one of the greatest comeback in world football history. Flying Eagles of Nigeria has already gone down by 0 – 2 at half time. And few minutes into the second half, Oleg Selenko added 2 more goals for USSR. It seems all was over and spectators started leaving the stadium to quickly attend the next big game in Jeddah: Argentina v Brazil.
But in space of 30 minutes, the tide changed. Christopher Ohenhen started the comeback with two successive goals – astunning free kick in 61 minutes and another goal at 75 minutes. At 83 minutes Samuel Elijah struck his own goal and just after 5minutes Nduka Ugbade, the captain of Nigerian team completed the 4 – 4 equalizer and took the match into extra time.
The Russians were stunned, when Nigeria triumphed 5 – 3 in the penalty shootout.
Indeed, not many saw the miracle. Some people had to run back to the stadium or a nearby TV set to see the greatest comeback ever and whole Nigeria went wild.
“90 Minutes in Nantes” (France 98 World cup Last Group Game): The Nigerian Super Eagles had come of Age and ready for a shown down against Spain. It was more of a tit-for-tat game as Fernado Hierro scored for the Spanish side in 31 minutes, Mutiu Adepoju replied almost immediately in the 24th minute to bring the game to (1 – 1) at half time.
The Nigerian team plied pressure against the Spanish side after Raul scored at the 42 minutes to make the game (1 – 2), but they could soak up the pressure as Zubizarremeta palmed in an own goal for the equalizer.
The 35, 500 spectators at La Brauguira stadium Nantes, knew they were in for more they bargained as Nigerians side began to fire from all cylinders. And by 73 minutes, Sunday Oliseh drove a powerful 25 yards shot pass Ivan Campo for the third and winning goal.
Though, both teams didn’t go beyond the second round of the tournament, but for 90 minutes in Nante, they gave the tournament something to savor.
“Battle against Divine Ponytail” (USA94 World Cup Second Round Match): The whole Nigerians sat on the edge of their seats and you could only hear their heart beating fast in the tension filled match.
It seems Nigeria will eventually cause yet another up set against Italy at the second round matches of USA 94 world cup. Emmanuel Amunike had slid the ball into the net off Findi George whipped in corner at 51st minute of the match and Nigeria held unto the 1 – 0 lead.
At 76 minutes Giafranco Zola was sent off Just 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute and Italian manager, Arigo Saachi had to bring on Roberto Baggio, the one they called ‘Divine Ponytail.’ And by 88 minutes Baggio scored the equalizer that took the game to extra time.
At 100th minute in the extra time Italy got another goal through Baggio’s penalty kick that neatly swayed Petr Rufai to the other side, for winner goal.
Though, the game ended 1 – 2 against Nigeria, it remains one of the most memorable matches. Most Nigerian fans were satisfied that Super Eagles lost gallantly.