2019 U17 AFCON: Golden Eaglets of Nigeria play out a 1-1 draw with Uganda to reach semifinals and also book 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup ticket
An Ibraheem Jabaar goal saved the day for Nigeria and ensured they took one point from the game at the Chamazi Stadium to finish top of Group A and to the semi-finals of the U17 AFCON which also guarantees them a place in the FIFA U17 World Cup holding later in the year.
After two wins, Nigeria needed just a draw to reach the semifinals but the Manu Garba boys did not sit back and dominated the first half.
As with their first two games, the Golden Eaglets continued to be guilty of missing chances after good build-up play.
Akinkunmi Amoo missed Nigeria’s best chance of the first half in the 17th minute and should have also given the Golden Eaglets the lead just before halftime but his header from a Shedrack Tanko delivery went wide despite being unmarked in a good position.
Jabaar who replaced Olakunle Olusegun after the forward was dropped following his wastefulness in front of goal in the game against Angola, tested the Ugandan goalkeeper Immediately after the restart but his low drive was saved.
Uganda got a chance to take the lead but an Andrew Akawooya freekick could only hit the crossbar with Nigerian goalkeeper Sunday Stephen beaten.
It was Akawooya’s replacement John Alou that gave Uganda the lead in the 69th minute after he met a corner just two minutes after coming on.
The lead did not last as the Golden Eaglets responded immediately through Jabaar who made a fine run from midfield to control a pass before poking past the onrushing Ugandan goalkeeper.
Wisdom Ubani later got a chance to put Nigeria in the lead but his effort was brilliantly saved by the Ugandan goalkeeper.
1-1 it ended, putting Nigeria on top of Group B while Uganda failed to qualify.
It was Angola who beat host Tanzania 4-2 in the other Group A game that progressed to the semifinals with Nigeria.
Nigeria and Angola have now joined Cameron as the three countries that have qualified for the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup.
The Golden Eaglets will, however, keep their focus on the ongoing U17 AFCON as they aim to win Nigeria’s third title in the competition.