Nigeria’s Flying Eagles on Friday in Algeria finished third at the 2013 African Youth Championship (AYC) after they beat Mali 2-1 in the third-place.
It was a sweet revenge for the Nigerian under-20 men football team after they had lost 0-1 to the same team at the beginning of the tournament.
The victory was also a consolation for the defending champions after losing 0-2 to Egypt in Tuesday’s semi-finals, after having won the championship two years ago in South Africa.
In the match, Nigeria took the lead in the 73rd minute through Umar Aminu after a goalless first half.
He had bundled home a loose ball after Mali goalkeeper and skipper Ali Yirango could not hold on to a shot.
Nine minutes, Aminu was on hand to tuck home a penalty kick after he was fouled by Issaka Samake inside the box.
It was his fourth goal of the championship and placed him in a good position to finish as the top goalscorer of Algeria 2013.
Mali’s fightback with an 88th minute goal through Keita Tiekoro ensured the match was placed on a knife’s edge, after some clumsy defending by the Flying Eagles.
The victory meant the Flying Eagles have now been placed in the first round Group B at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The Flying Eagles had qualified for a place at the World Cup, otherwise known as the World Youth Championship (WYC), by virtue of their semi-finals qualification at the AYC.
At the WYC scheduled for June 21 to July 13 in Turkey, the Nigerian side will play their first round matches in Kayseri and Istanbul.
They have been grouped alongside Cuba, Korea Republic and two-times winners Portugal who beat Nigeria 2-0 in the 1989 final in Saudi Arabia.
Mali on the other hand are now in Group D in Trabzon and Gaziantep alongside Mexico, Greece and Paraguay for finishing fourth at the AYC.