17th March, 2013
African Youth Championship (AYC) holders, Nigeria suffered an upset in the hands of Mali in their opening Group B game in Oran on Sunday. FC Nantes teenage striker, Adama Niane scored the only goal of the game to give the Malians a 1-0 win inside the Stade Ahmed Zabana.
Nigeria started on the front foot with Olarenwaju Kayode free kick stinging the palms of Mali keeper Ali Yiringo inside the first 10 minutes. With a quarter of an hour into the game, Mali took the lead.
The Flying Eagles failed to clear from Tiekoro Keita’s corner kick leaving Niane unmarked in the area to rifle home with his left-foot.
On 28 minutes, Kayode got the ball in the net but his goal did not stand as it was ruled offside.
The Malians ended the opening half under siege but kept their one-goal lead intact.
In the restart, substitute Edafe Egbedi missed Nigeria’s best chance in the 46th minute from close range after heading horribly off target at the near post where he was totally unmarked.
Kayode and captain Abduljeleel Ajagun came close to drawing Nigeria level in the space of minutes but missed target on both occasions.
With three minutes to full time, Enugu Rangers’ forward, Alhaji Gero was played free in the box but he could only blast wide after a good first touch on the ball.
Mali held on for a famous win in stoppage time as Nigeria, the defending champions now need an outright win against Gabon on Wednesday.