Nigeria’s Flying Eagles defeated Uganda 1-0 on Thursday in Ismailia to advance to the semi-finals of the FIFA Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
The 23rd FIFA Under-20 World Cup finals are scheduled to take place in Indonesia from May 20 to June 12. The Nigerian under-20 male national football team qualified for that tournament as well.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Flying Eagles had to fight hard throughout the game in the second quarter-final match of the 17th Under-20 AFCON.
They were rewarded with an own goal in the 30th minute of the game at the Suez Canal Authority Stadium by Ugandan midfielder Ibrahim Juma.
Goalkeeper Chijioke Aniagboso, who captained in the absence of the suspended Daniel Bameyi, did well to keep his team in the game before and after the goal.
As early as in the 10th minute, he had to enact a reflex save to stop a bullet header from a corner-kick.
Both teams continued to frisk for opportunities, with Nigeria’s Ibrahim Muhammad and Haliru Sarki probing deep.
But they were undone mostly by inaccurate passes and poor ball-holding in the final quarter of the game.
However, Muhammad who scored one of the goals which sank Mozambique on the final day of Group A helped his team to get it right by the half hour.
He latched onto a long ball on the left flank from the defence, controlled well and fired, an effort which saw the ball hitting the near post behind the goalkeeper.
The ball’s return into the goal area saw it richochetting off defender Juma into his own net for the only goal of the match.
Muhammad should have made it two to give Nigeria a cruise only four minutes after the restart, but he put too much power behind his turn and shot.
On the hour mark and seven minutes after, Aniagboso however saved point-blank efforts to sustain Nigeria’s lead.
Also, in the 80th minute, Samson Lawal pushed the ball away from goal from a free-kick 22 yards away.
NAN reports that victory has now earned Nigeria a slot in Monday’s semi-finals as well as a ticket to Indonesia.
The Flying Eagles will take on the winners of the clash between Congo and Tunisia, scheduled for the Cairo International Stadium on Friday. (NAN)