U-17 AFCON: Nigeria outrun South Africa to qualify for quarter-final

U-17 AFCON: Nigeria outrun South Africa to qualify for quarter-final

The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria have qualified for the quarter-final stage of the ongoing U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria after beating South Africa 3-2 in the last match of their group.

The Nigerian young stars showed reasons why they deserve a place in the knockout stage as they came from behind twice to overpower South Africa 3-2 in an entertaining clash at the Stade Mohamed-Hamlaou.

The victory sees the Eaglets secure six points (two wins and a loss) and thus qualify for the knockout round of the U-17 championship.

Determined South Africa

Vicky Mkhawana scored the opening goal for the Amajimbos barely six minutes into the match. Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets responded quickly but Charles Agada’s goal was ruled out due to an offside call.

Charles Agada later leveled the score for the Eaglets in a brilliantly powered header.

The South Africans again shocked Nigeria’s defence line as Mabena fired them back into a 2-1 lead.

Second 45 minutes

Nigerians drew level once again just seconds into the second half when Light Eke tapped home inside the box after a cross from Agada.

The high flying Eaglets got the winner in the 65th minute when Abdullahi out-powered two central defenders to extend a foot and direct Emmanuel Michael’s cross into the net.

INN news

All efforts by the South Africans to level again was contained by the high flying Nigerians who have taken another step closer to their first target of qualifying for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

As runners up, Nigeria will now take on the second placed team from Group C.

Nigeria’s coach Nduka Ugbade says he was relieved to see his team come off the right side of a 3-2 thriller against South Africa and qualify to the quarter finals of the TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations.

“It was a really tough match because South Africa is a really good team and they gave us a tough time. They have three players that are really good; Mabena (Siyabonga), Mkhawana (Vicky) and Dokunmu (Michael). They are very talented players and I was honestly scared of them at first,” Ugbade said after the match.

“We worked a bit in training and we did some corrections. We realized that it was purely psychological and we talked to the players and we saw an improvement today. We might have conceded two but I am glad we scored three,” said the tactician.

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