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
Jerry Langdon is sports editor of Gannett News Service and can be e-mailed at
Jerry Langdon is sports editor of Gannett News Service and can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nigeria 1, Bulgaria 0
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).
Spain 0, Paraguay 0
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.