Mar 11, 2015 19:24:00
Nigeria U20 side defeated Congo U20 4-1 at the African Youth Championship to reach the semi final of the tournament on Wednesday.
A brace from captain Musa Muhammed and strikes from Taiwo Awoniyi and Ifeanyi Mathew were all the Manu Garba-led team needed to breeze past their Congolese opponents despite going a man down in the first half.
Nigeria needed a win in order to earn six points and therefor qualify for the Fifa U20 World Cup as Congo needed victory to also keep brighten their hopes of reaching the next round after drawing 1-1 in their first game against Cote d’Ivoire.
Mathew put Nigeria ahead in the fourth minute after receiving a defence-splitting pass from Awoniyi before tipping it under onrushing goalkeeper Pavelh Ndzila from close range.
The Flying Eagles almost got the second goal two minutes later as Muhammed made an overlapping run to shoot at Ndzila who put up a great save.
In the 26th minute, Nigeria goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo was given his marching orders after a foul on Fred Ngoma at the edge of the penalty area with the resultant free-kick blasted wide by the Congolese.
Despite being one man down and a player short in attack after coach Garba opted to bring in substitute goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo in place of Chidera Eze, Muhammed scored Nigeria’s second goal of the game after man of the match Awoniyi was brought down by Cosme Mavougou in the penalty area.
On resumption of the second half, the Flying Eagles made it 3-0 as Muhammed got his second of the night from the penalty spot in the 54th minute after Awoniyi’s pace once again troubled the Congolese defence and he was fouled by Mavougou.
Eight minutes later, Ganvoula Mboussy pulled one back for the Congolese capitalizing on a loss of concentration by the Nigerian defence.
Three minutes from time, it was Awoniyi who sealed victory with the fourth goal with a superb strike. After dispossessing the Congolese off a counter, Matthew fetched Awoniyi, who blasted a superb shot past Ndzila to sign off victory in grand style.
Nigeria have now qualified for the semi final of the AYC with a game to spare as well as booked a place at the 2015 Fifa U20 World Cup.