The Flying Eagles of Nigeria got back to winning ways at the 2023 U-20 AFCON after a narrow 1-0 victory over the host Egypt in their second Group A game on Monday.
Solomon Agbalaka’s 71st-minute thunderbolt header was enough to propel the Flying Eagles of Nigeria to victory. In their first group game, recall the Flying Eagles lost 1-0 to Senegal. They will now meet Mozambique in their final group game on Saturday, 25th February.
The Egyptian U-20 side dominated the early exchanges and had the first chance of the game in the 14th minute but Rafaat Khalil volleyed his left-foot effort just over the bar.
The young Pharaohs continued to enjoy dominance and in the 22nd minute of the encounter, Egypt won a free-kick in a promising area but Mohamed Hamdy’s dangerous cross was well saved by Flying Eagles keeper Chijioke Aniagboso.
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However, the Flying Eagles had their first real attempt at goal in the 25th minute but Muhammad Aminu’s goal-bound shot was saved by the Egyptian goalkeeper, and just three minutes later Ayuba Abubakar raced into the Egyptian box but saw his low cross easily picked up by the Egyptian keeper.
In the 32nd minute, the Egyptian had another opportunity when Khalil collected the ball on the edge of the box, and turned his marker but couldn’t direct his shot toward the goal.
The pressure continued to pile on the Flying Eagles and in the 36th minute, Khalil once again had another chance to open the scoring when he beat three Flying Eagles players inside the box but shot agonizingly wide.
In the closing stages of the first half, Egypt had another opportunity but Ahmed Esho couldn’t connect with a dangerous cross into the box.
The second half started with the Egyptian dominating play and looking more dangerous than the Flying Eagles, they almost broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute but the Flying Eagles’ stopper made a timely save.
The Flying Eagles got their first chance of the second half in the 66th minute when Ibrahim Muhammed went close for the Flying Eagles but his low shot from the edge of the box went just wide.
However, the deadlock was eventually broken in the 71st minute when Solomon Agbalaka rose highest to connect with a powerful header from Muhammed Aminu’s corner.
The Egyptian piled pressure on the Flying Eagles’ defence in the closing stages as they searched for an equaliser, in the 87th minute, Flying Eagles skipper Daniel Bameyi made a timely clearance to deny an Egyptian player a clear sight on goal, and the Flying Eagles of Nigeria held on for a narrow victory.
Earlier in the day, Senegal registered a 3-0 victory over Mozambique in the other Group A match, Nigeria move from bottom to second in the group with three points.
The Flying Eagles will advance to the quarterfinals if they avoid a defeat against Mozambique in their last group game on Saturday.