Posted by News Express | 13 April 2015 | 3,874 times
Taiwo Awoniyi’s was outstanding on Sunday at the National Heroes Stadium, Lusaka, as he earned Nigeria a 2-1 win over hosts, Zambia and the ticket to the 2015 All Africa Games scheduled to hold in Congo Brazzaville, in September this year.
Nigeria’s U-23 side thus qualified 2-1 on aggregate after the first leg in Abuja had ended in a barren draw.
Awoniyi, the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup winner put the West Africans ahead in the 34th minute with a good finish off a superb team work, after Atanda Sodiq’s header in the 22nd minute off a corner kick missed the target.
The Zambians tried all they could but fired blank while the half lasted, as the Samson Siasia-piloted side was up and doing coupled with the excellence goalkeeping of Emmanuel Daniel.
Substitute Friday Samu gave the homers some respite in the 76th minute when he completed the effort of Shederack Malambo from close range.
The goal increased the firepower of the Zambians as they battled spiritedly in search of the match winner which however failed to come.
Awoniyi became the match hero as he scored again in the 86th minute to seal the qualification ticket of the Dream TeamVI.
The Zambians almost leveled up in the dying minutes but goalkeeper Daniel refused to be beaten again as he pushed Moses Phiri’s effort away for a corner kick.
Spectators unable to come to terms with the result started throwing cans onto the terrace during added time.
It would be recalled that Nigeria’s Super Falcons also on Friday at the National Stadium, Abuja, walloped Mali 8-0 to qualify for the women’s soccer event of the 2015 All Africa Games 9-1 on aggregate.
*Adapted from Nigerian Tribune. Photo shows Awoniyi
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