Cup holders Nigeria will have to wait for the reverse fixture in Asaba to book their qualification to the Africa U23 Cup of Nations after they were thrashed 2-0 by their Libyan counterparts on Wednesday in Tunisia.
The defending champions, Nigeria came into the encounter as favourites but the North African dominated the proceedings in the opening stages which saw their efforts rewarded in the 7th minute courtesy of Zakaria Alharaish strike to put his team ahead which startled the Dream Team.
Nigeria continued to heap more pressure in the Libyan half but could not find the back of the net.
In the 44th minutes, Nigeria was reduced to 10 as goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar was sent off after he handled the ball outside his area as Dennis Bonaventure made way in a tactical change after the setback, Orewale Oremade was brought on to mind the goal going into the first half of the game.
Libya doubles their lead in the 69th minutes via a sleek counter-attack move as the Imama Amapakabo’s led side to put away a number of opportunities that came their way proved fatal for the African champions, who endured the humiliation of finishing the match without securing an away goal.
Nigeria’s Dream Team will have to turn things around in the second leg on Monday 25 March in Asaba if they are to keep chasing a successful defence of their continental title.
Africa’s flag-bearers in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament of Tokyo 2020 will emerge during the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations to hold in Egypt 8th – 22nd November this year.