Nigeria supporters stormed the pitch at the Abuja National Stadium after a 1-1 draw at home to Ghana meant they will not take part at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey opened the scoring for the visitors before William Troost-Ekong equalised for the Super Eagles from the penalty spot in the first half. The hosts were the dominant side in Abuja but could not find the all-important winner after the interval, condemning them to defeat via the away goals rule.
Home supporters burst onto the pitch at the full-time whistle and proceeded to batter the dugouts and advertising boards around the Abuja National Stadium, which has a capacity of 60,000 fans. Police gradually restored control using tear gas but not until after the celebrating Ghana players had fled the scene, marring their qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. There were also reports of some Black Stars fans being targeted with attacks in the stands.
Ghana are returning to the World Cup after an eight-year hiatus having failed to reach the 2018 edition in Russia. Nigeria, meanwhile, will not be present at the tournament for the first time since 2006. After Troost-Ekong levelled in the first half, Napoli forward Victor Osimhen thought he had completed the comeback for the hosts only for his goal to be chalked off for offside.
Nigeria versus Ghana was one of five World Cup qualifiers contested between African nations aiming to reach Qatar on Tuesday night. In the other early game, Mohamed Salah and Egypt suffered another painful defeat on penalties to Sadio Mane and Senegal, having also lost February’s Africa Cup of Nations final via a shootout. The Pharaohs conceded an early own goal and Mane struck the winning penalty after Egypt’s players were mercilessly targeted with lasers.
Elsewhere, Morocco swatted aside the Democratic Republic of the Congo with an aggregate 5-2 victory and Tunisia clung on for a goalless draw at home to Mali having edged the first leg 1-0 away from home. Nothing could separate Algeria and Cameroon after 180 minutes of football as Eric Choupo-Moting struck to leave the aggregate score 1-1 and take the tie to extra time.
Across the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo reached the World Cup with a 2-0 victory over North Macedonia, with Bruno Fernandes at the double. They will be joined in the Middle East this winter by Poland, who brushed Sweden aside. Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring from the penalty spot and Piotr Zielinski doubled the advantage in the second half to eliminate Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his teammates.