PARIS 2023: Nigeria advance to the final qualifying round

Nigeria’s U23 side defeated Tanzania 2-0 at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan on Saturday to zoom into the final qualifying round for the U23 AFCON.

The two sides settled for a 1-1 draw in Dar es Salaam a week ago, meaning there’s a lot to be decided in this return leg.

Nigeria started the game decently, keeping possession nicely with the likes of Daniel Wotlai and Ogunniyi Omojesu getting involved.

However, it was Tanzania who had the best of chances in the opening half. Goalkeeper Nathaniel Nwosu had to make two big saves to deny the visitors from going in front. The first half didn’t produce any goals as the game remained evenly balanced.

After the break, Nigeria came out fighting more and creating chances in the final third. Striker Ibrahim Sunusi’s attempted overhead kick went into the side netting before Tanzania almost got the opener at the other end.

Just minutes after the hour mark, Omojesu handed Nigeria the lead from a free-kick. The former Sunshine Stars man’s free-kick took a devilish bounce in front of goalkeeper Aboutwaleeb Mshery into the goal.

The goal opened the game further and Nigeria duly got a well-deserved second less than ten minutes later. The sensational Omojesu was brought down in the box after a mesmerizing run. Skipper Makanjuola stepped up to take it – he was lucky to see his effort come off the upright and go in off the goalkeeper.

Nigeria could have increased their tally late on but substitutes Edidiong Ezekiel and Munir Idris couldn’t get the needed touch when Makanjuola’s cross went across the face of the goal.

Salisu Yusuf’s side marched into the final qualifying round with a 3-1 aggregate win and will be facing Guinea in March. The winner of the tie will qualify for the U23 AFCON in Morocco next year.

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

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