Wasteful Olympic Eagles beat Congo 2-1
A weekend that promised so much for Nigerian football fans ended with the hopes of the country’s entrants in the football event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games hanging on a thread.
On Saturday, the women national team, Super Falcons, were expected to beat Equatorial Guinea by a wide margin to ensure they returned to the Olympic Games, which they missed in 2012, but the girls only managed a 1-1 draw with the Nzalang Nationale.
That draw means they must beat Equatorial Guinea in Malabo or record a score draw higher than the 1-1 they got in Abuja.
Yesterday, the men’s Olympic team went into their clash against Congo with everything going for them, including massive crowd support marshaled by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike. But after an impressive first half, which ended goalless though, the team threw away a two-goal lead to end the game 2-1.
It means they must get a draw or win the return leg in Pointe Noire to have a chance of advancing to the next stage of the qualifiers, which is the African U-23 Championship.
Nigeria completely dominated the first half of the game at the beautiful Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, but a combination of wasteful shooting and brilliance of
Goalkeeper Christoffer Mafoumbi ensured the half ended goalless.
The second half was barely five minutes old when Shooting Stars striker, Junior Ajayi , opened scores for the Nigerians.
Ajayi gave the mammoth crowd at the stadium hopes of a rout in the 54th minute when he headed in another goal off a tantalizing cross from left winger, Etor Daniel. But rather than building on the lead, the Samson Siasia boys seemed to lose steam, allowing the Congolese ample chance to toss the ball around in search of their own goals. That they got in the 66th minute when Moise Nkonkou pulled a goal back.
Many fans at the stadium blamed the U-23 Eagles for losing concentration during the Congolese build up to their goal, but credit must go the East Africans for their impressive team work, which most times left Nigerian defenders at