Nigeria revived their semifinal qualification hopes in the ongoing Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations with a 3-1 win over Zambia at Al Salam Stadium, as the Group B match day 2 convened on Tuesday 12 November 2019.
The Olympic Eagles returned from behind to grab maximum points and raise their tally to three points, leading Cote d’Ivoire on goal difference, and one shy of group leaders South Africa. Zambia follow in order with a lone point before the final round of group games on Friday.
Patson Daka gave Zambia the lead after 12 minutes, ending a brilliant solo effort sending the ball past Adamu Abubakar to give Chipolopolo advantage.
But Zambia’s joy was shorty lived when Orji Okwonkwo restored parity just four minutes later, tapping the ball from close range following a corner. The first half ended with sides tied at 1-1.
Nigeria skipper Kelechi Nwakali took the lead for The Olympic Eagles sending a beautiful free-kick that wronged Zambia’s goalkeeper Mangani Banda after 65 minutes.
And deep into injury time Taiwo Awonyi made use of a swift counter attack to add Nigeria’s third of the night.
Leaders South Africa face Nigeria at Al Salam Stadium while Zambia takes on Cote d’Ivoire in a simultaneous kick off on Friday at Cairo Stadium.
Total Man of the Match: Patson Daka (Zambia)
What they said
Patson Daka (Total Man of the Match)
I’m disappointed with the result. We did our best but unfortunately we couldn’t get anything from the game. We have to remain strong and think of the next game.
Imama Amapakabo (Coach, Nigeria)
It was a tough game against a strong team and I’d like to thank Zambia coach for their performance. It was difficult to come from behind especially after conceding from a mistake, but were strong enough to do so.
Beston Chambeshi (Coach, Zambia)
We played a good game but conceded from set pieces which Nigeria are very good at. In the second half our goalkeeper made a mistake and we conceded again. But overall we had a good game and we need to continue fighting in our last match.