Posted by News Express | 11 January 2014 | 4,058 times
It was a baptism of fire for debutants Nigeria and they were outsmarted 2-1 this evening by fellow West Africans Mali in the Group A second match of the African Nations Championship (CHAN).
The Malians came out from kick-off looking more likely to win the war of the Eagles at the Cape Town Stadium in South Africa.
The Malians opened accounts as early as the 18th minute when Abdoulaye Sissoko’s shot was deflected past goalie Chigozie Agbim.
The Nigerians did not do enough to erase the deficit till the end of the first half and matters got even worse five minutes on the restart when an unmarked Adama Traore extended Mali’s lead after shooting through the legs of Agbim.
Hopes rose for Nigeria four minutes later when substitute Gbolahan Salami headed past goalie
Soumbeila Diakite in a goalmouth scramble but a late surge by Coach Stephen Keshi’s boys failed to yield the desired equaliser.
The result made the prospects of Nigeria’s qualification for the second round of the biennial championship reserved for locally based players in Africa more difficult as they are now third on the table after host nation South Africa beat Mozambique 3-1 in the opening fixture.
•Photo shows Gbolahan Salami who pulled one goal back for the CHAN Eagles.
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