U20 AFCON: Lacklustre Eagles Survive Group Stage

The Flying Eagles on Friday piped tournament hosts, Niger Republic, 1-0 in their last Group A game at the ongoing 2019 U20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Niamey, NAN reports.

The result meant that the Flying Eagles qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament and also secured a spot at the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland later in the year.

The match, played at the Stade Général Seyni Kountché in Niamey, saw Paul Aigbogun’s boys pose another lacklustre performance after defeating the Junior Mena in the crucial last group match which Adamu Alhassan scored the only goal of the encounter.

The Flying Eagles missed an opportunity to score an early goal when Nafizi Yahaya missed their only clear-cut chance of the first half in the fourth minute.

In the second half, the seven-times champions continued their unimpressive display until the 51st minute when Mohammed Jamil’s header forced a brilliant save from the Nigerien goalkeeper.

The Flying Eagles, however, broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute through Alhassan’s free-kick which beat the Niger goalkeeper to hand Aigbogun’s side their second win in the competition.

Nigeria finished top of Group A with seven points, while South Africa who beat Burundi 1-0 in the other matchday 3 encounter are second with five points.

They also advanced to the semi-finals and booked a spot at the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup.

The Niger Republic and Burundi, both crashed out of the competition after the hosts finished third with two points, while Burundi finished at the bottom of the log with one point.

The Flying Eagles will now face the runners up in Group B in the semi-finals on February 13, while the Amajitas of South Africa will clash with Group B winners Senegal.

Ghana and Mali occupy second and third spots in Group B and are both in contention for a second-place finish having been tied on the same points.

The 2019 U20 AFCON which is in its 15th edition kicked off on February 2 and is expected to end on February 17.