The Flying Eagles of Nigeria have returned to winning ways after defeating the Young Pharaohs of Egypt 1-0 in the second match of group A at the ongoing 2023 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.
The seven-time winners of the competition began the tournament on a shaky note losing 1-0 to Senegal last Sunday but defeated hosts, Egypt at the Cairo International Stadium who also played out a goalless draw against Mozambique in their first game.
Ladan Bosso who was without the services of injured Daniel Daga and forward Ahmed Abdullah had prior to the game said his team will learn from Argentina who won the World Cup after losing their first game to Saudi Arabia.
Egypt had the first chance of the game in the 14th minute but Rafaat Khalil volleyed his left-foot effort just over the bar.
In the 22nd minute, Egypt won a free-kick in a promising area but Mohamed Hamdy’s dangerous cross was well saved by Flying Eagles keeper Chijioke Aniagboso.
The Flying Eagles had their first big opportunity on 25 minutes but Muhammad Aminu’s goal-bound shot was saved by the Egyptian keeper.
Three minutes later Ayuba Abubakar raced into the Egyptian box but saw his low cross stopped by the opposition keeper. In the 32nd minute, Khalil collected the ball on the edge of the box, and turned his marker but failed to direct his shot towards the goal.
On 36 minutes Khalil had another chance as he beat three Flying Eagles players inside the box but shot wide. With three minutes left in the first half Egypt had another chance but Ahmed Esho couldn’t connect with a dangerous cross.
The Egyptian came out more purposeful and almost took the lead on 63 minutes but the Flying Eagles keeper made a timely save. On 66 minutes Ibrahim Muhammed went close for the Flying Eagles but his low shot from the edge of the box went just wide.
The deadlock was eventually broken at 71st minute as Agbalaka connected with a powerful header from Muhammed Aminu’s corner. With four minutes left Flying Eagles skipper Daniel Bameyi made a timely clearance to deny an Egyptian player a clear sight on goal.
Meanwhile, Senegal became the first team to qualify for the quarterfinal from Group A, which also has the Flying Eagles, after they dumped Mozambique 3-0.
The Junior Teranga Lions thus amassed six points from two matches having won their opening game against Nigeria on Sunday.
Pape Diallo scored twice for Senegal while Pape Diop got the other goal.
As it stands, Nigeria who are now second with three points on the table will battle Mozambique in the last group match on Saturday.
But it is not yet Uhuru for Nigeria as they need to defeat Mozambique who has a point to conveniently pick the quarter-final slot.
However, the quarterfinals stage will accommodate two teams who finish third (best losers) in the group stage.