Goals from Orji Okwonkwo, Kelechi Nwakali and Taiwo Awoniyi give the Olympic Eagles a well-earned Group B victory over Zambia.
It was a contest between two evenly matched sides in Cairo as the Olympic Eagles took on the Zambian U23 side in their second game of the 2019 U23 AFCON.
Patson Daka gave Zambia the lead after 12 mins, but their joy was short-lived as Orji Okwonkwo equalized 4 mins later with a low strike from a corner kick.
The teams went into the locker rooms at half time tied at 1-1.
In the second half, the Eagles looked to be on the front foot for the most part, with Okwonkwo being the biggest threat. It was unfortunate when he pulled up with an injury and had to be substituted in the 61st minute. He was visibly frustrated, kicking a water bottle, as he left the field.
Nwakali won a free kick about 25 yards from goal in the 65th minute.
He stepped up to take it himself, and converted, then running to the sidelines to celebrate with the just-substituted Okwonkwo.
The Zambians tried to get on the front foot for the remainder of the game but they could barely create any chances, as Azubuike did a good job in midfield and Abubakar always commanded his penalty box.
In the final minute of added time, a long ball from defence found Awoniyi one against one with the onrushing Zambian goalkeeper. He cleverly poked it past him, and slotted into the empty goal.
Cue raptures for Imama Amakpabo and his team.
Full Time: Zambia U23 1-3 Nigeria U23
A hard-fought win for the Olympic Eagles.
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by Ayotunde Ogala
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