U-23 Eagles sail through, Super Falcons eliminated

Samson Siasia

Samson Siasia

Nigeria won one and lost one yesterday on the way to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when Samson Siasia’s U-23 national football team held their hosts, Congo, to a goalless draw in Pointe Noire, while the Super Falcons were beaten 2-1 by Equatorial Guinea.

The draw gave Nigeria a passage to the African U-23 Championship, which is the continent’s qualifier for the Olympics. But for the Falcons, the 2-1 loss means they will miss the Olympics for the second time in a row.

Samson Siasia’s team progressed 2-1 on aggregate after winning the first leg 2-1 in Port Harcourt a fortnight ago to book a place for the Olympic qualifying event.

Nigeria did not hide their intent from the outset, knowing full well they had to be on the offensive to get anything from the game considering their hosts had an away goal.

Usman Mohammed tested the Congolese goalkeeper Mafoumbi as early as the 11th minute but he denied Nigeria the go-ahead goal. Daniel Etor and Oghenekaro Etebo were proving a handful for the Congolese to deal with as Nigeria asserted themselves in the first half.

The second half was a balanced affair as Congo came out strong but were unable to break a resolute Nigerian side which had chances in the second half too.

Nigeria substitute Aminu Umar, who replaced Daniel Etor late on, wasted a chance to win the game for Nigeria, not that it mattered at the end as the team held out five minutes of added time to qualify 2-1 on aggregate.

Senegal will host the inaugural Africa Under-23 Championship in December to decide who will represent Africa at the football event of the Olympics in Rio in 2016 In Bata, the Super Falcons lost 1-2 to their hosts, Equatorial Guinea, after going ahead in the first half. The first fixture clash a fortnight ago at the Abuja National Stadium ended one goal apiece.

Falcons’ Ngozi Okobi scored the match opener while the two-time African champions levelled the score before full time and grabbed the match winner in the extra time of the hotly contested encounter to earn themselves a spot in the Rio Olympics on 3-2 aggregate win.

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