WAFU B U20: Nigeria edge Ivory Coast to book AFCON ticket

WAFU B U20: Nigeria edge Ivory Coast to book AFCON ticket

Nigeria Flying Eagles have booked their place at next year’s U20 AFCON after beating Côte d’Ivoire 2-1 (a.e.t) in the semifinal of the WAFU B U20 Championship in Niamey on Tuesday.

Just like they have done in most of their games in the tournament, Ladan Bosso’s boys went ahead in the fifth minute of the game when Daniel Daga headed home Ibrahim Muhammed’s corner after the goalkeeper missed the ball in the area.

Lithuania-based striker Adams Olubi stole the ball from his marker and fed the unmarked Tolulope Ojo in the area but the Remo Stars forward could not sort out his feet quickly, which allowed one of the Ivorian defenders the opportunity to clear the ball on the line.

Moments earlier, a swift exchange of passes between right back Augustine Njoku and Ojo resulted in a scoring chance for the latter, but he could not keep his composure as he fired wide of the post.

Nigeria would go on to rue those missed chances as the Young Elephants leveled in first-half stoppage time. Seydou Traore curled home a wonderful freekick to stun the Nigerians just before the break.

Upon resumption of hostilities in the second half, the Nigerians continued to fluff their lines upfront as Ibrahim and Olubi’s replacement, Ibrahim Yahaya could not make the opportunities that came their way count. Goalkeeper Nathaniel Nwosu made big saves in the dying embers of the game to keep the scores level.

With no further goals at the end of 90 minutes, the match moved into extra-time and Nigeria continued to dominate and create goalscoring chances, but Yahaya and Ibrahim were wasteful in front of goal. In the 110th minute, Ojo outran his marker and outfoxed defender Ibrahim Cisse to win his side a penalty.

Yahaya stepped up to take the resultant penalty and he sent goalkeeper Issa Fofana the wrong way to all but seal a 2-1 win for Nigeria. Nigeria’s Daniel Daga, for his excellent display, was voted the man of the match.

By virtue of Tuesday’s win, Ladan Bosso’s wards have now qualified for next year’s U20 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Egypt. Meanwhile, they will face Benin Republic in the WAFU B Final on Friday.

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