29th July, 2012
Nigeria’s Flying Eagles took a massive step towards reaching the third round qualifying series of the 2013 African Youth Championship, after they defeated hosts Tanzania 2-1 Sunday evening in Dar es Salaam.
Enugu Rangers striker Alhaji Gero netted a first half brace, before the home team pulled a goal back in the 51st minute through Alhaji Said.
Big striker Gero was the hero of the day as he dashed into the Tanzania goal area, before he fired a left-footed shot beyond goalkeeper Barwany Khomein Abubakar.
Gero did same when he scored another fantastic second goal for Nigeria, who led the first stanza 2-0, putting the home fans on the edge of their seats before their consolation goal in the second half.
However, Tanzania coach Jakob Michelsen has said his team still have a chance in the return leg in a fortnight in Ilorin, Nigeria, following their spirited performance after the interval.
“We lost the first half, but won the second half and there are still two halves to be played,” said the young Danish coach, who was playing his first competitive game in charge of the Ngorogoro Heroes.
“We made two terrible mistakes at both ends of the first half and we paid for them, but I believe we still have something to play for going into the second game even against the African champions.”
He added: “We played a good match and the players showed a lot of heart. With a bit of luck we should have gotten two penalties for hand ball, but all the same I’m proud of the boys.”
Nigeria coach, John Obuh also praised the second half showing of the Tanzanians.
“It was a good game but the home team came out the stronger side in the second half. They had the advantage of having already started the qualifiers before us, winning their first round qualifier against Sudan, also, they were playing at home.
“But we knew we had to win this match even against a very smart Tanzanian team, who at a time almost got my team to play their long ball tactics.
“All the same, we still have a second leg to play, but we expect to reach the next round of the competition.”