Holders Nigeria secured a pleasant come-from-behind 3-1 win over Zambia to revive their Olympic dreams and get back on good terms with their fans following an opening day defeat.
A first half goal from Orji Okonkwo cancelled out a Patson Daka’s opener for Zambia before second half strikes from Kelechi Nwakali – a classy free kick, no less – and Taiwo Awoniyi ensured the Olympic Eagles claimed maximum points at Al-Salam Stadium.
CAF U23 Highlights:-
Nigeria 🇳🇬 Vs Zambia 🇿🇲
— Dee🏝️ (@debornair99) November 12, 2019
Imama Amapakabo’s boys lost their first match at the tournament to Ivory Coast to receive a barrage of knocks from fans but the victory over the Chipolopolo have quickly gotten fans back on their side.
It was a nervy encounter, described as ‘heart in the mouth stuff’ by a fan but Nigeria football fans, including the honourable Minister of Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, was delighted to see the Olympic Eagles rise from bottom of the group to second place.
Olympics Eagles bounce back. Nigeria 3. Zambia 1. Congratulations! AFCON.
— Sunday Dare (@SundayDareSD) November 12, 2019
— abudu tunde (@tandor07) November 12, 2019
U23 AFCON standings
Egypt 🇪🇬 – 6pts (+2) ✔
Cameroon 🇨🇲 – 4pts (+1)
Ghana 🇬🇭 – 1pt. (-1)
Mali 🇲🇱 – 0pts (-2)
South Africa 🇿🇦 – 4pts (+1)
Nigeria 🇳🇬 – 3pts (+1)
Ivory Coast 🇨🇮 – 3pts (0)
Zambia 🇿🇲 – 1pt. (-2)
✔ Through to the semi-finals. #TotalAFCONU23
— Israel Lemadoro (@israelbankole12) November 13, 2019
Nice comeback from the Olympic Eagles of Nigeria at the U23 Total AFCON tournament 👏🏾. Nigeria 3 vs 1 Zambia 👊🏾.
Brilliant free-kick from my bro @nwakali25 🔥. Naija, we hail thee 🙌🏾.
•#SoarOlympicEagles #Team9jaStrong #TotalAFCONU23 #nigeria #nwakali #blessed pic.twitter.com/lSk1UieqAv
— Dr. Kelechi Anyikude (@KelechiAFC) November 12, 2019
🇳🇬 is an entire vibe, can even make you forget that there is football on the pitch!#U23AFCON
FT: Zambia 🇿🇲 1-3 🇳🇬 Nigeria
🇳🇬 bounce back from their opening loss to leave Group B wide open, with semi-finalists to be decided on the final round on group matches. pic.twitter.com/FhiQXKQasr
— Idah Waringa (@IdahWaringa) November 12, 2019
Olympic Eagles kept their #Tokyo2020 hope alive:
• They came back from behind to stun Zambia 3-1
• They fell behind in 12' but Okoronkwo levelled for 🇳🇬 to make it 1:1 at HT
— FAST TRACK 🇳🇬 (@FastTrackNaija) November 12, 2019
— Raji Omotayo (@nobletayo96) November 12, 2019
Yes! Yes! Yes! They came with arrogance but are leaving with their tails between their legs! #SoarOlympicEagles
— Dr kelvin Amata (@KelvinAmata) November 12, 2019
And we humbled them.
FT: Zambia 1-3 Nigeria
Congratulations our Olympic team.
— Joshua Chisom (@JoChisom) November 12, 2019
A win in their final group game against South Africa will secure a place in the semi-final of the 2019 Africa U23 Cup of Nations for the 1996 Olympics champions.