Emmanuel Emenike converted a 90th-minute penalty for a second-half brace to lead Nigeria to a 2-1 win in Ethiopia in their World Cup playoff on Sunday, putting the African champions in strong contention for soccer’s main event in Brazil next year.


In Sunday’s other playoff game, Samuel Eto’o reversed his brief international retirement and captained Cameroon in a 0-0 draw in Tunisia in their first leg.

Nigeria, this year’s African Cup winner, needed a late comeback in Addis Ababa after a determined Ethiopia dominated for the first hour. Nigeria’s Godfrey Oboabona had to clear off the line in the 23rd to deny Saladin Said an early goal for the Ethiopians and Behailu Assefa then put the hosts ahead in the 57th when goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama fumbled his shot into the net.

But Fenerbahce forward Emenike equalised 10 minutes later and struck from the spot at the end to give Nigeria a lead to take to their home leg in Calabar on November 16. Ethiopia are trying to qualify for the first time but missed a string of early chances as Nigeria closed in on a fifth World Cup.

Ethiopia were convinced Saladin’s first-half attempt had crossed the line, and their football federation will register a complaint with the Confederation of African Football against the referee.

Eto’o started for Cameroon after being convinced by state president Paul Biya to rejoin the squad for the crucial playoff. He had a subdued role as Tunisia started rapidly and Yassine Chikhaoui twice failed to capitalise when one-on-one with Cameroon goalkeeper Charles Itandje in the first five minutes.

“We are satisfied with the result,” Cameroon’s German coach Volker Finke said. “The final result is a good thing and now we have to win the next match.”

New Tunisia coach Ruud Krol introduced nine new players for the playoff after they lost their last game at home against Cape Verde. That defeat led former coach Nabil Maaloul to resign before Cape Verde were stripped of the victory for fielding an ineligible player and Tunisia were reinstated to the final round of Africa’s qualifying competition.

On Saturday, Didier Drogba scored as Ivory Coast beat Senegal 3-1 and Burkina Faso edged Algeria 3-2. Egypt are away in Ghana on Tuesday to complete the first-leg games. The five aggregate winners will represent Africa at the World Cup.