23rd March, 2013
Defending African youth champions, Nigeria’s U-20 Flying Eagles made light work of DR Congo winning 3-1 to advance to the semi-finals of the 2013 Orange CAF U-20 Championship during the final group B match played at Ahmed Zabana stadium in Oran, Algeria Saturday.
The holders will now face Egypt on Tuesday in Ain Temouchent for the semi final tie.
Cafonline.com reports that Flying Eagles’ captain Abduljeleel Ajagun, opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 32nd minute after striker Edbedi Edafe was impeded by Abdullahi Shehu as he ran onto a return ball inside the box. Ajagun who also scored from the pot kick in the last match against Gabon sent goalkeeper Landu Bakala the wrong way.
Six minutes later Congolese defenders stood-by appealing for offside and paid for it when Aminu Umar played to the whistle and side footed past Bakala from close range to make it two nil to Nigeria.
DR Congo who up until the two goals had been playing some attacking positive football looked shell shocked and were struggling to contain the Nigerians. The half time break didn’t seem to have helped the Congolese as they continued to allow the runs into their box unchallenged. The Nigerians were exchanging short passes in-front of a deep Congolese defence and on 47th minute Umar shook off Nekadio Luyindama before lobbing over advancing Bakala for his second and Nigeria’s third goal.
From then on Nigeria dominated and Congo tried to recover and minimize the damage. As Flying Eagles were creating chance after chance but without really adding to the score line, Congolese coach, Lofoba Baudouim made some changes bringing in Kubanza Ushindi and Chris Makengo. The substitutions breathed some new life into DR Congo and they were duly rewarded for their pressure when on 72nd minute Mukanisa Pembele hooked a left shot into the top left hand corner of Nigerian goal minder, Jonah Usman as the Congolese self- belief returned.
It was however a charge made too late and Nigeria saw off the match to give coach John Obuh the late birthday present he asked for before the match. Obuh turned 53 on Thursday and had said the best present would be to lead his charges to the semis –finals.
Apart from securing the semi final ticket, the Nigerian team have also booked a ticket to play at the World Youth Championship scheduled for Turkey later in the year.