You almost thought that it was two different sets of teams.
On Thursday, the Central African Republic pulled off possibly one of the biggest upsets in the history of African football.
The Wild Beasts defeated the Super Eagles 1-0 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos. A few people might describe it as a smash-and-grab. It was anything but.
They came with a game plan and caught Gernot Rohr’s men out cold in the last moments of the match.
Nigeria flew out for the reverse fixture desperate for revenge.
And they got it.
This time around, Rohr came up with a plan, which involved playing three at the back. And it worked, as the Eagles pinned CAR back in Douala.
The three-time African champions not only dominated the game, they had a two-goal lead to show for it at half time, thanks to Leon Balogun and Victor Osimhen.
It could have been three after the break. But for some reason, Osimhen wasn’t able to prod the ball past a defender on the line, after beating the CAR goalkeeper.
Nigeria now have a two-point advantage in Group C over second-placed Cape Verde Islands, who beat Liberia in Mindelo on Sunday.
We will be back to World Cup qualifiers next month. On November 13, Nigeria travel to Liberia, while Cape Verde host Central African Republic.
There is little margin for error and no room for slip-ups. Rohr should know this by now. It could yet get down to the wire – a straight shoot-out between Nigeria and Cape Verde in Lagos.
But anything other than progression from this qualifying round will be an unmitigated disaster.