Nigeria have revived their hopes of picking up next year’s Tokyo Olympics ticket with a 3-1 victory over Zambia in the ongoing Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations at Al Salam stadium in Cairo yesterday.
The Olympic Eagles were stunned by Les Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in their opening Group B game when they let in a second goal penalty and finished the game with a man less.
The defending champions were dazed when the Zambians opened scoring at the 12th minute.
This was however short-lived as the Olympic Eagles got the equalizing goal through Taiwo Awoniyi’s 17th minute header.
With the goal, Nigeria began to pile more pressure to score more goals but were unable to get the goals as the first half ended 1-1.
Knowing the implications of losing the match, the Imama Amapakabo led team continued from where they stopped in the first half, taking control of the possession while having more shots on goal at their opponents at the restart of the second half.
Their pressure paid off in the 65th minute when Kelechi Nwakali gave Nigeria their first lead of the tournament with a neatly placed a free kick from about 25 yards out.
With added minutes, Awoniyi scored his second of the game to make the game safe for the Eagles when he slotted beyond the onrushing Zambia goalkeeper, who had dashed out of his goal area as Zambia chased the game.
Nigeria who are now second on the group with three points will now hope to go past South Africa Friday to advance to the semi-finals of the tournament.