Mozambique had two goals disallowed when held 0-0 by Nigeria in a 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ African Nations Cup qualifier. Veteran striker Dario Monteiro from South African club Mamelodi Sundowns was the unluckiest footballer on the artificial Machava Stadium pitch in Maputo as he netted twice during the first half only to be ruled offside each time. While the Mozambican Mambas did not protest too much when an early Monteiro header was disallowed, the decision of the Eritrean match officials to disallow another goal strirred unhappiness.
Mozambique looked more likely to break the deadlock before a sell-out 35,000 crowd while Nigeria demonstrated their experience with solid defending throughout. Nigeria included young Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel in their starting line-up after he had been doubtful for the Group B fixture owing to a throat infection. But defensive general Joseph Yobo from Everton was ruled out by injury for the opening third-round qualifier as were fellow defender Yusuf Mohammed and Germany-based striker Chinedu Obasi.
Mozambique coach Mart Nooij from the Netherlands relied on local stars plus professionals based in Egypt and South Africa as his team pursue a first FIFA World Cup appearance. That dream seems a long shot even with five fixtures to go, but the 2-1 home loss suffered by Kenya against Tunisia on 28 March gave Mozambique an early boost in their bid to reach the Nations Cup for the first time in 12 years. Group winners qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, the first to be staged on the continent, while the teams finishing first, second and third go to the Nations Cup in Angola earlier the same year.
While Mozambique applied most of the first half pressure, Newcastle United striker Obafemi Martins had a good chance to break the deadlock when he burst through only to be thwarted by goalkeeper Joao Kapango. There was another scare for the Mambas when an Ikechukwu Uche header had to be cleared off the line while already-booked Nigeria captain Obinna Nwaneri was lucky to escape a red card when his professional foul went unpunished.
The second half offered less drama with Mozambique on top territorially, while an Obinna Nsofor shot from the edge of the penalty area drew a superb reflex save from Kapango. Nigeria will host Kenya while Mozambique visit Tunisia in the second series of fixtures during June.