Nigeria’s national Under 20 team, the Flying Eagles on Saturday beat Mozambique 2-0 to book a place in the quarter-finals of the ongoing 2023 U20 Africa Cup of Nations (U20AFCON) in Egypt.
The Ladan Bosso-coached boys needed to avoid defeat to make sure of progression to the quarter-finals but they did the maximum by beating the Southern African side 2-0 courtesy of two first-half goals.
Midfielder Samson Lawal opened scoring for Nigeria in the 33rd minute when his 30-yard effort found the bottom left, leaving the goalkeeper stranded. It was none less than the Nigerians deserved after having dominated the encounter.
Ibrahim Muhammad made it two for Nigeria eight minutes later after his effort from 25 yards flew past Mozambique goalkeeper Kimiss Zavala to nestle into the top corner. The Flying Eagles led 2-0 at halftime.
It was the first time the young Nigerians would score in the first half in the competition and it marked a response to Bosso’s charge to his team yesterday at the pre-match conference, tasking them to stamp their authority in games early enough.
There was however a stain on Nigeria’s performance as team captain Daniel Bameyi received a yellow card late in the game, ruling him out of the quarter-final match next Friday.
Nigeria finished second in Group A behind Senegal who amassed maximum nine points from their three group games, rounding off the schedule with a 4-0 annihilation of hosts Egypt on Saturday evening in Cairo.
Nigeria will face the second-placed side in Group B (either of Congo, Uganda or South Sudan) in their quarter-final match billed for the Cairo International Stadium on March 3.
A win for Nigeria in that match will earn the Flying Eagles a spot at the 2023 World Youth Championships to be held in Indonesia.
This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago