Tanzania hold Nigeria to draw in U23 AFCON qualifier

Nigeria's U23 side were held to a 1-1 draw by Tanzania in the first leg of their U23 AFCON qualifier on Saturday.

Coach Salish Yusuf’s men drew first blood when skipper Success Makanjuola converted a 29th minutes penalty after midfielder Akanni Qudus was impeded in the area.

The Tanzanians upped the ante after going behind and Nigeria could have doubled their advantage if they were more clinical upfront.

Meanwhile, the home side’s continuous pressure for an equalizer after the break was thwarted by Nigeria’s backline. Although the hosts struck the woodwork twice.

However, the hosts would eventually find the equalizer when they were awarded a penalty of their own in the 74th minute and that was how it finished at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Speaking after the game, Coach Yusuf noted his team could have won if his boys had utilized the chances they had.

“It’s a hard game. They’re already in a match situation and we are not in a match situation. We could have won the game but we didn’t take two chances. We thank God for the draw.

“The plan is to win them and move to the next round by the grace of God. We will continue to work with the group and as you can see, they have improved. They’re improving as a team and I think they will play better in Nigeria”

The Olympic Eagles will hope to seal qualification when they host the Tanzanians next Saturday at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba in Ibadan.

The winner on aggregate will proceed to the next round of the Africa U23 Cup of Nations qualifying campaign. 

The Africa U23 Cup of Nations to be held in Morocco in November 2023, will determine Africa’s flag bearers at the Men’s Football Tournament of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. 

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

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