South Africa beat Nigeria to third place
Yesterday’s penalty shootout was again the misdemeanor of the seven-time winners of the CAF U-20 Africa Cup of Nations, the Flying Eagles of Nigeria, as they lost 3-5 to South Africa on penalties in the third place match played at the Stade General S. K. Stadium in Niamey, Niger.
The junior Eagles’ loss against their South African counterpart was the second in four days. On Wednesday, the team lost to Mali on penalties after the match ended 1-1.
Both Nigeria and South Africa have, however, qualified for this year’s U-20 World Cup in Poland, which is scheduled for May 23 to June 15.
In their first meeting in the tournament (group stage) they played goalless.
In yesterday’s game, the Eagles had 13 shots on goal, with only three being on target, while the South Africans, which ensured that the Eagles’ large possession of the ball did not translate to goals, had only three shots on goal and none on target.
In the early minutes of the first half, the Flying Eagles took the game to their opponents, but Jamil Muhammad’s shot at goal couldn’t connect.
Efforts by Paschal Onyekachi Durugbor and Maxwell Effiom, saw the Flying Eagles missing their targets, as the South Africans also had decent opportunities to break the back of the Nigerians.
Another chance to put the former African champion ahead came in the 61st minute, but was frittered by Effiong Michael whose close range header was saved by the South African goalkeeper, Khulekani Walter Kubheka.
In the late minutes of the game, the Flying Eagles intensified their efforts as they caged their opponents in their own 18 yards, but all to no avail.
Coach Paul Aigbogun-led Eagles, however, rested most of his key players.
The final match of the competition comes up today as the favourites, Senegal take on Mali. Both countries will have the rare chance to win the tournament for the first time.
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