The Nigerian lads lost their opening game to Senegal but fought back impressively to shoot down the hosts
Nigeria’s Flying Eagles claimed their first win at the 2023 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations by beating hosts Egypt 1-0 at the Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Full-back Solomon Agbalaka’s towering header midway through the second half was all the seven-time champions needed to secure their first points at the tournament.
After losing their opening match at the tournament to Senegal, Nigeria knew they could not afford to stumble against Egypt on matchday two.
But the Young Pharaohs were equally desperate for a win after managing a disappointing goalless draw with Mozambique in the tournament opener.
And the Egyptians were the team on the front foot for most of the encounter, asking questions of the Nigerian defence time and again.
After a cagey first half where only one shot on target was recorded, Egypt came out smoking in the second half with a frequent wave of attack.
But Nigeria will have goalkeeper Chijioke Aniagboso to thank for keeping the Flying Eagles in the game, with the youngster making at least two point-blank saves when it seemed certain that Egypt would score.
And coach Ladan Bosso’s boys made the Young Pharaohs pay for their missed chances with the sucker punch.
It arrived in the 73rd minute after left-back Agbalaka met the ball floated from a corner kick with a smashing header that was in the net before the Egyptian goalie knew what was happening.
With Senegal registering a 3-0 win over Mozambique in the other Group A match, Nigeria move from last to second with three points.
The Flying Eagles wi advance to the quarterfinals should they avoid a defeat against Mozambique in their last group game.