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13 June 1998 Group D Nantes - Stade de La Beaujoire
Spain Nigeria
Nigeria and Spain both magnificently played their part in the best match of France 98 so far. The Africans memorable 3-2 victory in the Stade De La Beaujoire, Nantes, taking them to the top of the Group of Death. The Super Eagles stunned the Spaniards after showing great courage to come from behind on two occasions and Sunday Oliseh's 78th-minute winning strike now leaves Group D favourites Spain at the bottom of the table. Spanish striker Raul came close to scoring the quickest World Cup goal in history, but saw his right-footed strike after just ten seconds superbly saved by Rufai in the Nigerian goal. Lifted by such a great start the Spaniards tore the Africans apart in the first 15 minutes with Raul's header hitting the woodwork before Hierro eventually put his side ahead with a deflected 21st-minute free-kick. Nigeria gradually played their way into the match with fast, flowing football and deservedly equalised through Mutui Adepoju from a corner as the balance of power shifted decidedly in their favour. Augustine Okocha ran the show in the centre of the park, releasing the pacy Ikpeba on a number of occasions and Oliseh tried his luck a couple of times from distance whilst adjusting his sights for later. After the break, the pattern of the game was much as the first with the Spaniards again starting the quicker of the two sides and Raul's superb volley caught the Nigerians cold. However, the introduction of Yekini brought immediate reward as he set up Lawal for the second equaliser before the glorious match-winning strike from Oliseh with just 12 minutes remaining.

(1-0) Hierro (21). A free-kick was awarded some 25 yards out on the left of the box and with the wall covering the left side of the goal, Hierro struck a right-footed shot which took a slight deflection off Sergi to beat Rufai into the right side of the net.

(1-1) Adepoju (24). Lawal's whipped right-wing corner into the near post area just eluded Hierro and the unmarked little midfielder crashed home a thunderous header which Ferrer, on the post, could only help into the roof of the net.

(2-1) Raul (47). Hierro's inch-perfect long pass from midfield picked out his Real Madrid team-mate, who watched the ball drop over his shoulder before burying a wonderful first-time, angled, left-footed volley beyond Rufai and into the far corner from eight yards.

(2-2) Lawal (73). He collected Okocha's crossfield pass before breaking free into the left side of the box after playing a one-two with substitute Yekini, his low driven cross-cum-shot deflected off the hand of 'keeper Zubizarreta to end up in the back of the Spanish net.

(2-3) Oliseh (78). A headed clearance from Lawal's corner was met by the Ajax midfielder who unleashed a blistering right-footed half-volley from 30 yards, which screamed waist-high into the net with too much power for Zubizarreta's despairing dive.

 
 
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