It’s always a good sign after a team can bounce back from an unexpected defeat and win the next game in style. That’s exactly what the Nigerian national U-17 team did.
In their previous game, a few days ago, Golden Eaglets succumbed to a surprising defeat to Burkina Faso, losing 3:2 after dominating the ball throughout the game. Still, some good point was taken from that game. The Eaglets managed to get back into the game after conceding two goals in the first 10 minutes of the match to finish 2:2 at halftime. In the second half they had much more ball possession but didn’t convert their chances and Burkina Faso did.
Ahead of the match with the Ivory Coast, coach Manu Garba knew that they needed to win this game and win it by at least two goals to make sure they reach the semi-finals. And obviously, his players heard him. The Nigerians went into the game strong, and this time it was them who scored two goals in the first 13 minutes. The scored were Olakunle Olusegun and Olatomi Olaniyan. If there was any pressure on the players before the game, it was surely gone by then.
The Eaglets continued to press forward and scored another two quick goals, in the space of three minutes going 4:0 up. This time, the goals were scored by Lawrence Adeniyi and Hassan Hussein. The team was buzzing going into the break. They came back in the 2nd half just as committed and scored their fifth goal of the match in the 56th minute, courtesy of a penalty converted by Akinwunmi Ayobami Amoo who was named Man of the match after the game finished. Ivory Coast managed to get a consolation goal through a penalty of their own in the 68th minute, scored by Olivier D’Avila. That was the final score.
Nigerians are now safely through to the semi-finals where they will play Niger, Togo or Ghana depending on everyone’s position in the group after the third game. After the game, coach Garba has praised his team for the win but has been a little critical too, saying that the Eaglets need to be more clinical when they get good chances to score like they did in this match. Burkina Faso are playing Ivory Coast on Sunday in a game which will decide the winner of this group. Ivory Coast can still go through if they win by three goals or more.