Nigeria’s U-23 Eagles, yesterday, lost 0-1 to Cote d’ Ivoire in their first Group B match of the 2019 CAF U-23 Total Africa Cup of Nations. The match was played at the Al Salaam Stadium in Cairo, Egypt.
The match, which serves as qualifiers to the football event of the 2020 Olympic Games, saw the Eagles finish the West African derby with 10 men following a red card given to defender Olisa Ndah, in the 71st minute
Nigeria’s goalkeeper, Adamu Abubakar, made a fantastic save in the 16th minute to deny the Ivoiriens an early opener.
The first half saw both countries unable to get on the score sheet.
Nigeria’s head coach, Imama Amapakabo, made two quick changes bringing on Sunday Faleye and Sunusi Ibrahim for Olabiran Muyiwa and Bright Enobakahre in the 54th and 56th minutes.
Before Okonkwo’s substitution, he had a clear opportunity to score, but his header came off the crossbar from a corner kick.
Cote d’ Ivoire, however, grabbed a winner in the 71st-minute goal after a controversial penalty awarded by Egyptian referee, Mohamed Maarouf.
The match produced no further goals with the Nigerian side, the defending champions of the CAF tournament needing to defeat Zambia and South Africa to stand a chance of reaching the semifinals.