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Amajimbos beat Golden Eaglets 1-0, qualify for final



SOUTH Africa Wednesday lived up to their pre-match boast of stopping Nigeria at the semifinal stage of the on-going African Under-17 Championship when the Amajimbos defeated the Golden Eaglets 1-0 in the race to the final game.

   The South African needed just one strike by Eric Mayo and the agility of their goalkeeper, Mondli Mpoto, to deny Nigeria another berth in the final of the competition.

  Nigeria lost in the final of the competition to Cote d’Ivoire two years ago and Emmanuel Amuneke and his wards dreamt of taking the trophy back to the country. But that was not to be as the Amajimbos ensured that they got one over Nigeria, which had hitherto rode roughshod over the Southern Africans in international games.

  Both sides went straight to the match with attacking intentions, with the Amajimbos forcing a save from goalkeeper Akpan Udoh in the first minute.

  Nigeria launched an attack of theirs too. All action Suleiman Abdullahi hit a fierce shot in. It was an end to stuff from the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria.

  In the 11th minute, Victor Osimhen had a glorious chance for Nigeria when he was put through on goal, but he could not make hay. Five minutes later, Osimhen again was the man behind the sweet move of Nigeria, but Mpoto saved his shot.

  Before South Africa’s winning goal four minutes to the end of first half, Okonkwo had a chance to put Nigeria ahead, but he could not beat Mpoto.

  The first half ended 1-0 in favour of the Amajimbos.

After the break, Nigeria applied more urgency but Mpoto again denied them with his sharp reflexes.

The South African side grew in confidence as the game went on. 

  With the Golden Eaglets needing inspiration, head coach of the team, Emmanuel Amuneke, decided to introduce the silky Christian Charles to add bite to the blunt attack.

  Thirteen minutes to the end of the match in Niamey, Chukwueze Samuel who was through on goal missed a sitter. Chukwueze had another chance to equalize, but he hit his shot against a South African defender after beating three players.

 Mali and Guinea will meet in the other semi-final Thursday.

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