Nigeria rebound, beat Zambia 3-1
Nigeria yesterday resuscitated their chances of qualifying for the semifinals of the on-going African U-23 Nations Cup when they defeated Zambia 2-1 in their second group game of the competition.
Nigeria lost the first game to Cote d’Ivoire 0-1 and needed a win today to rekindle its chances of making the last four.
That they did in style, coming from a goal deficit to beat the Zambians 3-1.
Patson Daka gave the Zambians the lead in the 12th minute, but Orji Okoronkwo equalized for the U-23 Eagles four minutes later.
Kelechi Nwakali gave Nigeria the lead in the 65th minute through a free-kick, while Taiwo Awoniyi sealed the win in the 90th minute.
To qualify for the semifinals, Nigeria must now beat South Africa in the last group game, or get at least a draw, while hoping that Cote d’Ivoire will fail to beat Zambia.
South Africa is closer to a semifinal spot as they defeated Cote d’Ivoire 1-0 in the other group match also played yesterday.
The South Africans began their Group B campaign with a 0-0 draw against Zambia, while Cote d’Ivoire defeated Nigeria 1-0.
Three spots in the men’s event at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo are up for grabs at the tournament.
The finalists and the winner of the third-place play-off will qualify for Tokyo 2020.
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