Nigeria’s Flying Eagles on Tuesday beat Mali 5-4 on penalties to reach the final of Men’s football event of the ongoing 12th African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
Both teams played out a 0-0 draw in full and extra time with Nigerian captain Abubakar Ibrahim “Babawo” missing a first half penalty for Paul Aigbogun’s wards.
The national Under 20 side however exacted some sort of revenge over the Malien Junior Eagles who defeated them on penalties at the semi final stage of the Under 20 Africa Cup of Nations in Niamey, Niger earlier this year.
Nigeria missed their first three spot kicks in the shootout but had goalkeeper Detan Ogundare to thank for saving as many spot kicks by the Maliens.
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It was Ogundare who then provided the final act on the game after three more rounds of sudden death penalties when he saved to give Nigeria a 5-4 win in the shootout.
The win marks the first time Nigeria would reach the final of the African Games men’s football event since they hosted the Games in Abuja in 2003.
The Flying Eagles will now face the Junior Etalons of Burkina Faso in Friday’s final, a repeat of their group stage game in Rabat.
Just like Nigeria, Burkina Faso also edged Senegal 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the end of 120 minutes in the second semi final game on Tuesday evening.
Nigeria and Burkina Faso played out a 1-1 draw in their first group game of the ongoing African Games.