Nigeria’s Flying Eagles lose again

The Nigerian side was defeated by Tunisian giant, Club Esperance.

Nigeria’s U20 team, the Flying Eagles, on Saturday lost their second successive game as they were beaten 2-1 by Tunisian club, Esperance, in a friendly match on Saturday.

The Flying Eagles controlled the first half against the two-time African champions, who lined up a very strong starting XI that included new signings, Emmanuel Clottey from Becham Chelsea of Ghana; and Nigerian-born winger, Emeka Emerum; as well as Tunisia internationals, Houcine Ragued and Wajdi Bouazzi.

The Flying Eagles created the best chances in a goalless first half and will again have to blame their finishing for not going ahead in the friendly match.

Christian Pyabara had an effort blocked by goalkeeper Wassim Naouara from inside the box after 27 minutes; and in the 35th minute, skipper, Abduljaleel Ajagun, failed to make the most of a free header right inside the box.

The biggest chance of the first period fell to Pyabara when he only had to guide the ball into an empty net after a great work from the left by Alhaji Gero. But somehow he fired his effort over the bar.

Esperance, who brought in Ghana international defender, Harrison Afful; Algeria star, Antar Yahia; and first-choice goalkeeper, Moez Ben Charifia; after the interval, took the lead in the 50th minute when Nigerian goalkeeper, Jonah Usman; failed to clear the ball and in the ensuing melee, Lampjed Chehoudi fired home.

The perennial Tunisian champions doubled their advantage two minutes later when Kingsley Madu brought down Clottey inside the box; and skipper Khalid Chammam tucked away the spot kick.

Nigerian midfielder, Moses Orkuma, was sent off for retaliation in the 59th minute.

However, substitute, Umar Aminu, pulled a goal back for the African youth champions in the 67th minute after a flowing team play.

The Flying Eagles finished stronger as they continued to fight for the equaliser, but Esperance held out to barely shade a hard-fought encounter.

The Nigeria U20s are slated to test their readiness for the Africa Youth Championship, AYC, in Algeria with two more test games against Club African and the Esperance U20 team.

Despite the second loss in four days, Coach John Obuh has assured that his team will be up to the task at the 2013 AYC.

The Nigeria youth team lost their first test game to Tunisia U20 side, 2-0, on Thursday.

“The result was again not what we expected, but the performance of the team has re-assured us we will be the team to beat in Algeria,” Obuh said, after the match played at the El Menzah Stadium’s training pitch in Tunis.

“It was a good game but we have to work on our goal scoring and I expect the players not to lose their composure even when the referee has made a few bad calls.

“All the same, I believe in this team. We have worked very hard and we will continue to work even harder to ensure the best for Nigeria,” he added.

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