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Salah scores again for Egypt; Mikel and Nigeria finally win a game

Julian Finney

For just the second time in a dozen tries, the Nigeria national football team won a game.  Just one win, five losses, and five draws preceded Wednesday's three points against lowly Sudan, with a brace from Ahmed Musa on either side of Samuel's second half strike quadrupling Nigeria's point total in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group.  John Obi Mikel even chimed in with an assist on the opening goal of the 3-1 result, winning the ball and dribbling away from three red shirts before sliding the ball over to Musa who did the rest.

It was a good showing from the Chelsea man and much needed especially in terms of his rather frosty media relations lately in Nigeria.  There were even some reports from earlier that he may or may not have gotten into a physical altercation with a reporter, which is not good, to say the least, if at all true.  As usual, Kenneth Omeruo started as well and produced a mostly drama-free, solid 90 minutes.  Well, except that one time he gave the ball away cheaply (from which Sudan did not score) and that one other time when he and the rest of the defense were caught out by a quickly taken free kick (from which Sudan did score).

The result elevates Nigeria to third in the group (top two qualify) and means that if they win their last two remaining qualifying games (in November), they will get to still to go the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations despite the mostly horrendous results lately.

Nigeria's 3-1 win was matched by Ghana at home to Guinea -- Christian Atsu did not feature -- while the two-goal margin of victory was matched by Egypt at home to Botswana -- Mohamed Salah did feature.  In fact, Salah featured prominently, scoring the second goal in the 2-0 victory with a well-taken left-footed finish.  He also hit the post twice.  Twice!

It was Salah's 20th goal for his country, which is pretty impressive for a 22-year-old.

Last but not least, Burkina Faso looked to avenge their surprise 2-0 defeat away to Gabon last week, but all they managed was a 1-1 draw and a point against 10 men to stay second in their group.  Bertrand Traoré got the start.

And with that, this international break is finally done.  Back to proper football!

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