The Simoiben academy product was the difference-maker as the Nigerians dumped out the defending champions
Full-back Emmanuel Michael shot a pair of excellent free-kicks to inspire Golden
Eaglets to a 3-1 win over Ivory Coast and help Nigeria book a place in the final of the WAFU B Championship on Tuesday.
After finishing as Group A leaders, the Nigerian lads were the favourites against an Ivorian side that only qualified as runners-up from Group B, having lost two of three games.
But the defending champions had no intention of rolling over for the Golden Eaglets to steamroll over them, drawing first blood from the penalty spot early in the first half.
The Golden Eaglets, however, unleashed their secret weapon in Emmanuel Michael, and the youngster, from a seemingly impossible angle, curved in a free-kick to draw Nigeria level midway through the opening half.
Michael had won the man-of-the-match award in both of Nigeria’s first two games in Ghana, and he again showed his quality shortly before the interval.
After stepping over another free-kick, the Simoiben Academy product bent the ball over a wall of Ivorian defenders and into the net to make it 2-1 for the Eaglets.
Abdullahi Idris got the third goal for Nigeria on the hour mark. Michael could have netted a hat trick, but his freekick missed the target by whiskers in the 77th minute.
By the full-time whistle, the Nduka Ugbade-tutored boys still looked the fresher and more threatening of the two teams.
The Golden Eaglets, with the victory, have booked their place in the final of the WAFU B Championship and will face the winner of the other semifinal clash between high-flying Burkina Faso and hosts Ghana.
The five-time world champions have also booked a ticket to the CAF u-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria next year.
Leave a Reply