Posted by Nelson Dafe | 19 July 2015 | 3,358 times
Despite putting up an exciting performance, Nigeria’s Under-23 team, The Dream Team 6, left the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt disappointed this evening after allowing Congo to score what could prove a valuable away goal in the first leg of their Olympics soccer qualifier match. Nigeria won 2-1.
The Dream Team played well from the start, forcing the visiting Congolese to defend in numbers. Several chances were lost in the opening half by Coach Samson Siasia’s boys as they searched for the opener.
The pressure from the Nigerians paid off in the early minutes of the second half, with a quick double from a persistent Junior Ajayi.
The first came after Congolese ’keeper Christopher parried a shot from the edge by Saviour Godwin unto the path of a lurking Ajayi, who tapped in to break the deadlock.
Not long after, a smooth Nigerian move, with a succession of crisp passing, resulted in a cross from the left flank that ended in the head of the predatory Ajayi, who converted to send Nigerian fans into a frenzy of wild celebrations.
Siasia was lifted up into the air by one of his assistants after the second goal. His team tactics looked to be working to perfection. His boys were not just winning, but doing so in grand style.
But the cruelty of football reared its head for Nigeria, as Congo’s first notable chance resulted in them pulling a goal back. A breakout saw the Congolese spread the ball to the edge of the Nigerian box. A rash move by a Nigerian defender, who lounged into a tackle, when protecting his byline would have been better, resulted in his opponent eluding him and crossing for his teammate to score from a rebound after the Nigerian ’keeper had done well to save an initial shot.
Nigeria searched for a third, but it was not to be. There were some genuine penalty appeals that were waved away by the referee.
The return leg in Congo promises to be a real battle, as a 1-0 win would see the experienced Coach Claude Le Roy’s lads move a step closer to the Olympics in Rio del Janeiro, Brazil, at the expense of Nigeria.
•Photo shows Coach Siaisa.
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