Nigeria rallied twice for a 2-2 draw with Scotland in a friendly at Craven Cottage stadium in London. However, the on-field matchup was not the central topic before the game, and it was a goal that was not allowed that may prove to be the most memorable.
On Tuesday, the Guardian reported that Britain’s National Crime Agency was concerned that “the game could be targeted by match-fixers.” From the newspaper’s report:
The agency, which focuses on serious and organised crime, has been in discussions with the Scottish Football Association’s security department for the past 48 hours without highlighting a specific threat to the friendly. The SFA said: “We are liaising with the relevant authorities and will prepare for the match as normal.” There is no suggestion that Scotland’s players are implicated. Bookmakers have Nigeria priced as favourites.
The game took place as planned, and many accounts of it simply note that an apparent own goal by Nigeria was disallowed because officials ruled that Scotland had fouled goalkeeper Austin Ejide. Some media outlets, such as the Daily Mail, even described the moment as a disallowed goal off a header by Scotland.
However, this video clip seems to show something a little more disturbing — it appears that Ejide catches the ball, then immediately flips it into his own net.
Here is a Vine of the same play, to better enable you to watch it over and over.
(courtesy of Mikey.)
So was this, in fact, evidence of attempted match-fixing? So far, no such accusations have been officially leveled at Ejide or anyone connected with the game. The Guardian, showing classic British reserve, simply described it as “an incident that was timed unfortunately given the events of the week.” Certainly, an argument can be made that that is the least one could say about the play.