NIGERIA’S U23 football team have moved a step closer to qualifying for the second round of the ongoing 12th All African Games after they beat their South African counterparts 2-1 in their second match of the tournament yesterday.
At the tournament taking place in Morocco, the Eagles played a 1-1 draw with Burkina Faso in their opening game, so now have four points from their two opening matches. They will now play hosts Morocco in their last group game on Friday in Rabat, where a point will be sufficient to see them through to the next round.
In the other group game that took place yesterday, Burkina Faso beat Morocco 2-0, meaning that the Burkinabes have four points, while the Moroccans have three, having beaten South Africa 1-0 in their opening match. In yesterday’s game played at the FAR Sports Complex in Rabat, goals by Collins Sor and Ahmed Ghali in the 27th and 76th minutes ensured Nigeria won, although the team also conceded a 55th minute goal from South Africa’s through Ofentse Mashiane.
Coach Paul Aigbogun made three changes to the line-up that drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso with Adesina Gata coming in for Success Makanjuola, while Liameed Quadri took the place of Samuel Nnoshiri and Mathew Yakubu replaced Detan Ogundare in goal. Nigeria started brightly and could have taken the lead but for a plethora of missed chances notably by Sor, Ghali and Saeed Jibril.
However, Sor eventually broke the deadlock in the 27th minute after finishing Saeed Jibril’s pass, taking the Eagles into the break a goal ahead. Following the restart, South Africa equalised through Mashiane who found space in the Flying Eagles defence to equalise in the 55th minute.
After this, coach Aigbogun brought on Success Makanjuola and Chinonso Emeka for Saeed Jibril and Collins Sor and this helped increase the tempo in the Nigeria attack which resulted in the winning goal. In the 76th minute, Ibrahim Abubakar found space to run at the South African defence and whip in a cross which was met by Ahmad Ghali for his second of the competition and the winner for Nigeria.