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AFCON U-20 Qualifying WAFU-Zone B: Nigeria clinches semifinal spot after entertaining draw with Burkina Faso

Group B resumed action Wednesday at the WAFU-Zone B regional competition in qualifying for the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations and the Flying Eagles of Nigeria confirmed their spot with a 2-2 draw against Burkina Faso. Nigeria jumped out to a lead and had the better of the first half but a fightback from the Burkinabé side helped them earn a point in their first match at the competition in Niger. Nigeria have four points from their two games, confirming their semifinal spot, and Burkina Faso (1 point) will face off against Ghana (0 points) on Saturday with the other spot from Group B on the line.

Nigeria carried on from an excellent opening match win against Ghana and overwhelmed their opponents early on. After creating a couple of early looks, a bit of fortune led to the Flying Eagles taking the lead in the 23rd minute. Ibrahim Mohammed put in a hopeful floated cross from the right flank and Burkinabé goalkeeper Philippe Mare struggled to judge the flight of the ball, which rattled off the far post and back off Mare into the goal.

It could have been a two-goal lead for Nigeria by halftime when after a first shot went wide, Burkina Faso’s shaky passing in the back led to another opportunity for the Nigerians. However, after Ibrahim Yahaya’s cross was cleared to the edge of the penalty area, Adams Olubi curled his shot just wide with Mare appearing to be beat. Burkina Faso finally had their first chance just before halftime but Moussa Ky’s firm header from a Mohamed Ouédraogo corner kick went right at Nigeria keeper Nathaniel Nwosu.

The Burkinabé side rallied at halftime and turned the tide of the match. In the 58th minute Harouna Dicko drove down the right wing and sent a low cross intended for Yacouba Konaté, who was struck by Nigerian captain and center back Oluwatosin Adegbite as he attempted to shoot for a penalty kick. Nwosu attempted to shout loudly to throw Abdul Rachid Zagre off but the Burkinabé captain stepped up and coolly sent Nwosu the wrong way to level the match.

Nigeria would jump back in the lead in the 71st minute when a floated free kick from midfield saw Mare clatter Ahmed Abdullahi as he attempted to play the ball, resulting in Yahaya sending Mare the wrong way on his spot kick. However, the Burkinabé team once again pulled themselves back and ensured the teams would share the points when Nigeria failed to clear a scramble in their penalty area in the 82nd minute, allowing Kalou Irie Bi to fire home after receiving a cross from Konaté.

Highlights of the match are below.

1 COMMENT

  1. Wow..I love this!
    I just felt like am watching the match while I was reading it.
    Its so detailed..
    Please keep it coming

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