By Amaechi Agbo
Five-time world Champions, Golden Eaglets of Nigeria Yesterday qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup after they defeat hard fighting Angola in the second group match of the ongoing 2019 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Tanzania.
Olakunle Olusegun scored the lone goal of the match in the 2oth minute via penalty to give the Manu Garba-led lads the needed three points to book their ticket for the Brazil showpiece.
With the defeat, Nigeria also qualified for the semi-final of the AFCON U-17 championship.
Nigeria tops their group with six points after winning their first two matches. They
defeated host nation, Tanzania 4-5 in the opening match on Sunday.
A 20th minute penalty converted by Olakunle Olusegun after an Angolan handled
the ball inside the box proved the difference between the West African neighbours.
Nigeria missed countless goal scoring chances and had their defence to thank for being resolute.
Angola were reduced to 10 men when Gege received his second booking on the 51st minute.
But the Angolans were not to be brow-beaten, as Zito latched onto the ball a few metres from the centre and unleashed a rocket that goalkeeper Sunday Stephen, in for the jittery Suleman Shaibu, did well to punch away.
Three minutes later, Stephen had to be alert to push away another fierce Angolan shot, but two minutes later, at the other end, Ubani’s swift turn and shot came quite close with Geovani beaten.
They could have had many more, but Shedrack Tanko bundled against the upright in the 42nd minute when it appeared easier to score, and Olusegun’s effort to chip Goevani from a swift counter was well –read by the goalkeeper.
In the second period, the Eaglets’ profligacy continued, even after the Angolans were reduced to 10 men in the 51stminute as Jose Cabincano earned a second yellow card. In the 53rd minute, Ubani’s stinging shot from 25 yards went narrowly over, and on the hour, when it appeared easier to score, Ubani passed the ball to onrushing Olusegun who missed from close range.
Substitutes Ibraheem Jabaar, Divine Nwachukwu and Peter Agba could not effect any improvement in the Eaglets’ game, and Nwachukwu even missed a glorious opportunity with six minutes to the end.
The win means that the Eaglets return to the FIFA U17 World Cup after missing out of the last edition staged in India tow years ago.
Nigeria will certainly finish at the head of Group A if they avoid defeat against Uganda at the same venue on Saturday.