Nigeria’s national U17 team; the Golden Eaglets on Wednesday beat ten-man Angola 1-0 in Dar es Salam, Tanzania to qualify for the semi final of the 2019 U17 Africa Cup of Nations and by extension, the 2019 FIFA World Under 17 Championship.
ABS FC starlet Olakunle Olusegun converted from the penalty spot in the 21st minute to score the only goal of the game but the Nigerians wasted lots of scoring chances that could have put them out of sight for a long time before full time.
Angola’s task was made the more arduous six minutes after the break when they were reduced to ten men after defender Jose Cabingano Gege stopped Olusegun in his tracks, leaving Egyptian referee Ahmed Al Ghandour with no choice but to show him a second yellow.
Olusegun was presented with a golden opportunity on the hour mark after strike partner Wisdom Ubani had beaten his marker inside the box but the youngster hit his first-time effort over the bar.
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With time running out, Angola’s ten men grew stronger and it took a fine save by Nigeria’s goalkeeper Sunday Stephen to deny the impressive Zito Andre Sebastiao at his near post nine minutes from time.
Manu Garba’s wards continued to create more chances but they ultimately failed to add to the first half goal. They nonetheless have assured themselves of a place in the semi-final and have picked a slot out of Africa’s four berths at the World Under 17 Championship in Brazil later in the year.
Nigerian captain Tijani Samson was named the match’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for his commanding display in the midfield .
Nigeria’s final group game will hold on Saturday at the Ohamazi Stadium in Mbangala against Uganda who face Tanzania later on Wednesday.