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World Cup: Nigeria third to clinch second round.


By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service

(Friday, June 19, 1998) -- Nigeria joined Brazil and France in advancing to the World Cup second round today, but had to share the spotlight with pre-tournament favorite Spain, which was held to a 0-0 draw by Paraguay and is close to elimination.

Much depends on Wednesday's final first-round games.

Nigeria, which has clinched No. 1 in the group, figures to have little incentive, while Paraguay, its final first-round foe, can take the second and qualifying slot with a win. Spain, meanwhile, needs to beat Bulgaria -- and hope Nigeria at best ties Paraguay.

Victor Ikpeba scored on a 12-yard shot in the 27th minute to give Nigeria its second straight win, 1-0, against Bulgaria.

Emil Kostadinov came close to tying with three minutes left, but his shot was stopped by a fingertip save by goalkeeper Peter Rufai, who deflected the ball off the crossbar.

Spain dominated its match with Paraguay, which counterattacked sporadically. It had a great scoring chance in the 45th minute, when Raul Gonzales fired a shot from six yards out that diving goalkeeper Jose Chilavert stopped with his hand, with defender Celso Ayala clearing before it could roll into the goal.

"They closed down every avenue open to us," Spain coach Javier Clemente said about the Paraguay defense. "It may not be very nice to look at but it is effective."

Jerry Langdon is sports editor of Gannett News Service and can be e-mailed at jlangdon@gns.gannett.com.

Group D

Nigeria 1, Bulgaria 0
in Paris

Nigeria - Peter Rufai, Celestine Babayaro, Uche Okechukwu, Taribo West, George Finidi (Tijani Babangida 85), Mutiu Adepoju, Austin Okocha, Garba Lawal, Sunday Oliseh, Victor Ikpeba (Rashidi Yekini 75), Daniel Amokachi (Nwankwo Kanu 67).
Bulgaria - Zdravko Zdravkov, Radostin Kischichev, Trifon Ivanov, Ivailo Petkov, Gosho Guinchev, Marian Hristov (Daniel Borimirov 45), Zlatko Yankov (Georgi Bachev 85), Krassimir Balakov, Ilian Iliev (Luboslav Penev 69), Emil Kostadinov, Hristo Stoichkov.
Goal: Nigeria - Victor Ikpeba 27.
Shots at goal: Nigeria 21, Bulgaria 16.
Shots on goal:Nigeria 7, Bulgaria 3.
Yellow caution cards: Nigeria - Mutiu Adepoju 20, Uche Okechukwu 43, Victor Ikpeba 49, Austin Okocha 72. Bulgaria - Ilian Iliev 65, Radostin Kischichev 79.
Referee: Mario Sanchez Yanten (Chile).
Attendance: 49,300 (estimated).


Spain 0, Paraguay 0
in St. Etienne

Spain - Andoni Zubizarreta, Rafael Alkorta, Abelardo (Albert Celades 56), Sergi Barjuan, Carlos Aguilera, Fernando Hierro, Guillermo Amor, Luis Enrique, Juan Antonio Pizzi (Fernando Morientes 53), Raul Gonzales (Kiko 66), Joseba Etxeberria.
Paraguay - Jose Luis Chilavert, Francisco Arce, Carlos Gamarra, Celso Ayala, Pedro Sarabia, Denis Caniza, Roberto Acuna (Juan Carlos Yegros 74), Miguel Angel Benitez, Julio Cesar Enciso, Aristide Rojas (Cesar Ramirez 84), Jorge Luis Campos Velazquez (Carlos Paredes 46).
Goals: None.
Shots at goal:Spain 28, Paraguay 17.
Shots on goal:Spain 9, Paraguay 8.
Yellow caution cards: Spain - Sergi Barjuan 8, Kiko 87. Paraguay - Celso Ayala 31, Francisco Arce 77.
Referee: Ian McLeod (South Africa).
Attendance: 36,000 (estimated)