By Dare Esan in Constantine: The Super Eagles of Nigeria and Algeria played out a 1-1 draw in their final African qualifying Group B FIFA 2018 World Cup fixture in Constantine on Friday night.
John Ogu put the Eagles ahead with a superb curler before Yacine Brahimi drew the hosts level from the penalty spot.
The draw means the Eagles finish the qualifying campaign unbeaten on 14 points while Algeria finished bottom on two points and without a win.
Islam Slimani almost gave Algeria the perfect start under one minute but could not direct his header towards goal.
In the 12th minute Algeria went close again following a well taken shot from the edge of the Eagles’ box by an Algerian player whose effort went just wide.
The Super Eagles had their first attempt on goal in the 15th following a poor clearance but AnthonyNwakaeme’s weak shot was well dealt with.
With 15 minutes remaining in the first half Algeria were forced into an early change as Chemseddine Nessakh was replaced by Ayoub Abdellaoui.
Algeria continued to create chances and should have gone ahead on 33 minutes but Shehu Abdullahi made a timely clearance to avert any danger.
Nwakaeme was presented with a big chance to give Nigeria the lead on 43 minutes after a superb turn inside the box only to see his left-foot shot well saved by Fawzi Chaouchi in goal for Algeria.
In the 48th minute, Alex Iwobi broke on the right but his final ball into the box was poor.
A minute later Riyad Mahrez sent in a dangerous low cross which William Troost-Ekong did well enough to clear.
Chaouchi was called into action on 55 minutes as he dived full stretch to claim Iwobi’s left-foot strike from the edge of the box.
Algeria had a golden chance on 61 minutes after Ikechukwu Ezenwa failed to hold a corner but the Algerian player headed over from close range.
The Eagles eventually broke the deadlock through Ogu who curled in a sweet left-foot strike into the top right corner.
Slimani should have equalised for Algeria on 68 minutes but missed an open net after a right wing cross was not well dealt with by Ezenwa.
In the 83rd minute, Kelechi Iheanacho whipped in a dangerous set piece which the Algerian keeper punched away.
Algeria equalised through Brahimi from the penalty spot on 88 minutes after Abdullahi was controversially judged to have fouled him.
Even Brahimi, who had gone down easily all game, was not appealing this time as Abdullahi made minimal contact. But the referee pointed to the spot to the surprise of both sets of players and the fans.
With two minutes into added time the Eagles won a free-kick but Iheanacho’s effort went straight to the keeper.
The group’s other teams Zambia, on seven points, and Cameroon, on six points, will meet in another dead-rubber encounter in Ndola on Saturday.