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AFCON U-17: Early goal sends Morocco to the top of Group B in frustrating outing for Nigeria

An own goal within the opening two minutes was all Morocco needed to make it two wins from two matches in Algeria at the 2023 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations with a 1-0 victory over Nigeria at the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine. Wednesday’s result moves the Atlas Cubs into first place in Group B and secures a spot in the quarterfinals of the competition ahead of their final group stage clash against Zambia. Nigeria, with three points from two matches, are still in good shape to advance with a draw or victory against South Africa in the final day of Group B action on Saturday.

Frustration was the theme of the day for Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets who were camped in the Morocco half for long stretches but could not find a goal after a poor start had them playing from behind. In the 2nd minute the Moroccans found a bit of good fortune to open the scoring when a cross from the right flank by Abdel Hamid Maali caromed off the head of Nigeria defender Tochukwu Ogboji and into the goal past keeper Richard Odoh who was wrong footed by the deflection.

Nigeria were determined to get back level but luck was not on their side. Forward Abubakar Abdullahi had two excellent chances in the first half but fired over from close range in the 21st minute from Favour Daniel’s low cross before shooting wide after a hopeful shot from distance deflected through to Jega United player.

The opportunities continued to flow freely for Nigeria in the second half who created twenty-seven shots but could only put four of their attempts on target. Daniel was at the center of several attacks for the Golden Eaglets who could not find a way past Morocco goalkeeper Taha Benrhozil in the end after the Mohammed VI Football Academy shot stopper came up with a couple of important saves.

Highlights from the match are below.

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