Falcao The Difference As Colombia Scrape Past Nigeria

A late strike from Radamel Falcao Garcia was the difference as Colombia edged Nigeria 1-0 in a friendly match in Cali on Wednesday night...

Colombia have continued their sudden revival under Eduardo Lara with a well-deserved 1-0 victory over Nigeria in a tight contest that marked the inauguration of Deportivo Cali's new stadium.

The Colombians, who have struggled in the South American World Cup qualifiers, started strongly, but as the game progressed the Nigerians picked up the pace.

The Africans looked dangerous when moving forward, particularly because of their speed, but they lacked determination when it came down to finishing.

Perhaps Nwankwo Kanu was their best player in the first half, as he steered his team forward with much motivation. Another good performer was Ikechukwo Uche.

After the break Lara's side dominated proceedings, and they created several good opportunities to take the lead, but with minimal luck.

Nigerian goalkeeper Ejide Austine was in fine form and he kept his side in the match with several outstanding interventions.

Towards the end of the match the desperate Colombians pushed forward in large numbers, and they were rewarded for their offensive approach in the 82nd minute when River Plate superstar Radamel Falcao Garcia scored what ended up being the match winner.

The Real Madrid-bound striker met a good ball from Dario Herrera and beat Ejide Austine with a brilliant crossed shot.

The Nigerians protested that the ball had gone out of play, and this led to the dismissal of Sani for verbally abusing the linesmen.

Colombia put an end to 704 minutes without scoring a goal against the Nigerians.

The vocal, 20,000-strong crowd went home happy after an entertaining match that was deservedly won by their side, even if it was only by a single goal.

Gregory Sica