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Wednesday, 17 April, 2002, 20:56 GMT 21:56 UK
Nigeria edge out Scots
Scotland v Nigeria
Christian Dailly heads Scotland in front at Pittodrie
Scotland 1-2 Nigeria

Two goals from Julius Aghahowa gave Nigeria a morale boosting win over Scotland ahead of this summer's World Cup.

However, a spirited performance from the Scots made for a good contest with the hosts taking an early lead through Christian Dailly.

An entertaining first half saw a lot of strong running from Scotland and flashes of brilliant skill from Nigerians.

The second period lacked the urgency of the first 45 minutes until a charge from Scotland in the closing stages which had the Nigerians defending in numbers.

The Scots started the match at a whirlwind pace and Celtic full back Stephen Crainey fired in the first shot of the game after some good work from Neil McCann.

Crainey's low drive was on target but goalkeeper Austin Ejide was behind it.

New caps Robbie Stockdale and Kevin McNaughton were proving effective on the right flank and the pair combined to set up Steven Thompson, who's near post flick went just wide.

The home side were rewarded for their impressive opening in the seventh minute when Dailly rose to head a Scot Gemmill corner into the net.

Neil McCann grapples with Joseph Yobo.
The Nigerian marking was poor and the West Ham defender had little difficulty nodding in his second goal for his country.

Goalkeeper Austin Ejide caused a few flutters on the Nigerian bench when he made a hash of a McCann cross and it needed Isaac Okoronkwo to hack the ball clear.

Ejide made amends soon after, blocking a Paul Lambert shot from a tight angle.

The World Cup qualifiers had been sleepwalking through the first half hour and it took a moment of magic from Kanu to wake them from their slumber.

The Arsenal man wove his way past a number of Scottish defenders and it took a wonderful save from Rab Douglas to stop his low angled shot.

Bartholomew Ogbeche then fired wide after turning David Weir and Kanu came close with a header from a Jay-Jay Okocha free-kick.

Ogbeche forced Douglas into another good save after Stockdale had lost possession.

In the 40th minute Aghahowa leveled the scores from close range after a Crainey tackle on Kanu had rolled into his path.

Immediately after the re-start McCann burst through the Nigerian defence on the left but his shot from a wide position was saved - with Thompson screaming for the ball in the six yard box.

Both sides took the opportunity to field a number of substitutes and the free-flowing football of the first half was disrupted.

The home side looked tired after their early exertions and the classy visitors made them pay in the 69th minute with a quick counter attack which lead to Aghahowa's second goal of the evening.

Crainey was bypassed by a long ball from Okoronkwo and Ikedia had time and space to measure his cross for the Shakhtar Donetsk striker to arrive from deep and head powerfully past Douglas.

Substitute Michael Stewart saw his low shot gathered by Ejide and the keeper had previously been quick off his line to deny McCann and Garry O'Connor scoring chances.


Scotland: Douglas, Stockdale, Weir, Dailly, Crainey, McNaughton, Williams, Lambert, Gemmill, McCann, Thompson. Subs: Gary Caldwell, Davidson, Johnston, Alexander, Stewart, Crawford, O'Connor, Ross, Combe, Paul Gallacher.

Nigeria: Ejide, Sodje, Yobo, Okoronkwo, Christopher, Okocha, Ejiofor, Utaka, Nwankwo Kanu, Aghahowa, Ogbeche. Subs: Bankole, Eze, Ifejiagwa, Kaku, Mancha, Akwuegbu, Ugali, Adepoju, Lkedia, Odemwingie, Ldaehor.

Referee: Tom Henning Ovrebo (Norway)

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Ken McRobb
"A valuable experience for coach Berti Vogts"
Scotland's Robbie Stockdale
"It's disappointing to lose the game"
Scotland boss Berti Vogts
"We must look for completion"
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GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1

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