The national under-20 male football team, the Flying Eagles, on Tuesday beat Abuja-based Nationwide League One (NLO) clubside, City Strikers, 2-1 in a friendly match.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the match, played at the Abuja National Stadium, was expected to be the Flying Eagles’ last friendly game before departing for Sudan.
The Flying Eagles are to take on their Sudanese counterparts on Sunday in the first leg match of the final round of qualifiers for the 2017 African U-20 Nations Cup.
They began the match on the front foot as they took an early lead through an audacious strike from outside the penalty area by Garvin Thompson in the opening minute.
The Flying Eagles continued to pile pressure on their opponents’ defence line to hold the game in hand.
They added a second goal in the 21st minute after Victor Osimhen intercepted a pass to place the ball in the top right corner.
City Strikers came out stronger in the second half as they created a couple of chances of their own, which they however failed to convert.
They would have been made to rue all their lost chances in the 50th minute after the referee pointed to the penalty area, after spotting an infringement in the box.
Kelechi Nwakali who stepped up to take the penalty kick saw his shot go wide off target.
City Strikers however rallied and reduced the tally through a beautiful goal in the 60th minute by Ikenna Christopher after a lovely combination of passes.
The Eagles would have extended their lead in the 70th minute, but for a wonderful piece of goalkeeping by City Strikers’ goalkeeper Adah Idoko.
He kept out two goalbound shots from Samuel Chukwueze and Osimhen respectively.
After the match, Flying Eagles’ Head Coach Emmanuel Amuneke praised their opponents for giving his team a good fight.
“This is the kind of game that affords us the opportunity to fine tune our game before taking on our opponents in the qualifiers proper.
“Our opponents were very physical and strong today, and that is exactly what we should expect from the Sudanese.
“So, we are doing what we have to do to achieve our objective,’’ he said.
Coach Peter Ogaba of City Strikers, on his part, said he was happy with his team’s performance as the players showed a lot of character and strength in the encounter.
“I must confess that this was our first real test and biggest match so far in the history of the club.
“So, we will be taking with us a lot of lessons and experience from this game into our league,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the Flying Eagles are taking on a Sudanese side yet to kick a ball in the qualifiers following the withdrawal of second round opponents Malawi.(NAN)