Abbeylivenetwork.com presents the five takeaways from the Flying Eagles’ 1-0 win over Egypt on Wednesday evening in their second Group A game of the 2023 CAF U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.
The victory puts the team in good stead and a positive outing on Saturday against Madagascar could see the team reach the quarterfinals stage depending on how the other groups also play out.
1. Physical start to the game
The game started on a frenetic note with tackles for both sets of players.
The mood was understandable after a sloppy start to the tournament for the countries. However as the game developed, we had a more balanced, better display of football.
2. The Flying Eagles’ fine team spirit
Much has been said about the Flying Eagles’ fumbling attack and the defence that needs to be seriously worked on. Even the midfield is as far from perfection as humanly possible.
But one thing you cannot take away from Ladan Bosso’s lads is their incredible team spirit.
It does not matter who starts or who is introduced from the bench; the boys work hard, they never stop running, and they put in the shift to cover for each other.
If only they could somehow find a way to make their quality shine through and add it to their incredible work-rate, then they could be among the favourites for the title.
3. Hard to pick the man of the match between Agbalaka and Aniogboso
Nigeria’s left-back Solomon Agbalaka came up with the decisive winner when it was most needed. And coupled with his overall impressive performance, he would ordinarily be the prime choice for the man-of-the-match display.
But goalkeeper Chijioke Aniagboso delivered an excellent performance key to Nigeria’s precious clean sheet on Wednesday.
The young shot-stopper made at least two point-blank saves when it seemed certain Egypt would score.
And it will not surprise many to see him retain the number one gloves for Nigeria’s next match against Mozambique.
4. All focus on Mozambique
Beating the hosts, who also happen to be four-time winners of the competition, is no mean feat, but it is just another group match and not the title decider. No over-celebration is required.
The Flying Eagles need to beat Mozambique in their last group game, or at the very least avoid a defeat, to seal their place in the quarterfinals.