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Nigeria defeat Burkina Faso to win final of WAFU-B Under-17 Championship; Ghana finishes third

The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria are off to their tenth Africa U-17 Cup of Nations as the champions of their region after defeating Burkina Faso 2-1 in the final of the 2022 WAFU-B U-17 Championship in Cape Coast, Ghana on Friday. Idris Abdullahi scored both goals for Nigeria with his second coming soon after a Burkinabé leveler from Abdouramane Ouédraogo. Due to making the final, both teams advance to the 2023 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations in Algeria.

Burkina Faso nearly opened the scoring within seconds of the opening kick off. A poor series of passes from Nigeria sent center back Jeremiah Obaleke scrambling to recover a loose ball behind the Nigerian defense and he was fortunate to escape a card when forced to take down an opportunistic Ouédraogo outside his penalty area. Burkinabé star Ousmane Camara sent a dangerous free kick on target but Nigeria goalkeeper Richard Odoh was up to the challenge and pushed the shot away.

Recovering after the early mishap to control play, Nigeria put themselves in the lead with a quality goal. Soon after a 22nd minute free kick from the right flank was cleared out, the Golden Eaglets cycled the ball to standout left back Emmanuel Michael, who picked out Abdullahi with a splendid cross to powerfully head past an overwhelmed Isidore Traoré in the Burkina Faso goal. Nigeria were in control for long stretches in the first half and looked capable of jumping out to a decisive lead.

But it was Burkina Faso who once again showed their ability to fight back from early deficits with a response in the 42nd minute. Apollinaire Bougma collected a throw-in on the right wing and made space off the dribble before lobbing his cross to the far post. Camara met the ball with a header back across the mouth of the goal and Ouédraogo crashed in to provide the final touch with his own header.

Despite the late goal in the first half, a moment of fortune allowed Nigeria to snatch the lead back soon after halftime. A 48th minute free kick out wide far from the goal saw Michael attempt an audacious effort towards Traoré. The goalkeeper struggled with the shot and spilled the ball into the path of Abdullahi, who finished past Traoré from the edge of the six-yard box.

The Young Stallions attempted to fight back and managed to put some pressure on the Nigerian goal but Golden Eaglets goalkeeper Odoh continued to be difficult to beat. Both teams had their opportunities but Odoh and his defense were able to hold out the Burkinabé attack and the shot stopper was named Player of the Match for his efforts to wrap up an impressive tournament.

Highlights of the final are below as well as third place game further down, where hosts Ghana defeated Ivory Coast 3-2.

Nigeria 2-1 Burkina Faso

Trophy Presentation

Third Place: Ghana 3-2 Ivory Coast

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