AYC 2015: Nigeria’s Flying Eagles settle for draw against Cote d’Ivoire

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AYC 2015: Nigeria’s Flying Eagles settle for draw against Cote d’Ivoire
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AYC 2015: Nigeria’s Flying Eagles settle for draw against Cote d’Ivoire

Tunde Eludini

Sports/Football

Picture: Flying Eagles

Excerpt:

The Nigeria U-20 team, the Flying Eagles, escaped defeat in the hands of the Cote d’Ivoire U-20 team in their final Group A match of the ongoing Africa Youth Championships.

The Flying Eagles, who had before now torn apart their Congolese counterparts as well as hosts, Senegal, had to come from behind twice to rescue a 2-2 draw against the Ivorians in a tensed game at the Caroline Faye Stadium in Mbour.

Five minutes into the game, the Flying Eagles, for the first time in this tournament, found themselves on the back foot as Cote d’Ivoire romped into the lead, having benefited from the loss of concentration in the defence of the Nigeria U-20s.

However, the Nigerian lads were soon back in their right element as they forced out an equaliser in the 26th minute through Christian Pyagbara who completed the great work from teammate, Nwobodo, from the left flank.

Ivory Coast, knowing fully well that only victory will help their course, crafted out another goal in the 32nd minute to make it the first time the Nigerian team will concede more than a goal in a game at the ongoing AYC tournament.

While the first half did end 2-1 in favour of Ivory Coast, the Nigerian team came back strong in the second half and their efforts were rewarded in the 67th minute when a Nigerian player was felled in the box and a penalty kick awarded.

As customary with the Nigerian U-20 team, it was Captain Musa Muhammed who took the resultant kick and he did not disappoint as he leveled scores at 2-2.

There were to be no goals in the game as it all ended 2-2.

In the other centre, the dramatic 4-3 win secured by hosts, Senegal, over Congo saw them not just through to the semifinals of the AYC but also qualification for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

It will now be an all West African affair as Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal will be the flag-bearers of Africa at the FIFA U20 World Cup later this year.


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  • Lemmuel Odjay

    BASED ON THE NIG. v. CIV MATCH ONLY (and from a lay man’s perspective): Nigerian BACK needs to be strengthened. More understanding between back and GOALKEEPER required. Back to MIDFIELD area: 1-2 tap PASSES typical of Nigerian cadet teams wobbly and in urgent need of perfection as such passes stray mostly to the opponent. Attack easily neutralized by the CIV defence. Graduation from midfield to attack fairly ok. There need to be more bite in the ATTACK as well as clinical finishing. CIV were good, obviously came for a win and had a good idea how to go about it. They pushed their back line some metres forward and resisted pressures to retreat. It worked for them, in that Nigeria found itself struggling upfront while being made to soak up wave after wave of pressure that proved stressful to the Nigerian back. We must learn to counter this kind of play as some countries would definitely adopt it against us at the World Cup finals. WRAP: If this team is able to stay and play together over a period of say, 6 months to blend and perfect what I saw them do in that match, they could go places. But the above issues must be well sorted out. It is time to win the World Cup in this category.