Explained: Why Semi Ajayi's goal for Nigeria against Cameroon was ruled out - Watchtower media

Explained: Why Semi Ajayi's goal for Nigeria against Cameroon was ruled out

Nigeria had the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was controversially ruled out for a strange offside call

Nigeria’s round of 16 match against Cameroon at the 2023 AFCON was touched by controversy as the Super Eagles felt aggrieved after a contentious call by referee Redouane Jiyed. 

The Super Eagles had the ball in the back of the net after 12 minutes against Cameroon, but the goal was ruled out after a short VAR check. 

Super Eagles defender Semi Ajayi had fired the ball into the back of the net after profiting from a penalty box mishap from the Cameroonian defence and goalkeeper, but a VAR review disallowed the goal. 

Why Nigeria’s goal was ruled out

According to the IFAB rules governing the game, a player is offside unless he is level or ahead of two players, not one, as is generally understood. 

The major caveat is that the goalkeeper is usually the second player in consideration so most people do not notice that the rule mentions two players instead of one. 


In Nigeria’s case against Cameroon, the Indomitable Lions’ goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa was off his line and involved in play, making him the ‘last man’ in for his team, not Oumar Gonzales, who was on the goal line. 

Therefore, according to the laws of the game, the decision to rule out the Super Eagles’ opener was the right call, and Nigerian fans can rest assured that they are not being cheated out of a deserved win against their fierce rivals. 

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