Former Champions Nigeria edged past Guinea Bissau through the skin of their teeth after a 1-0 win in Calabar on Sunday took them to the final stage of the 2019 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Flying Eagles held their opponents to a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Bissau last Saturday but the fickle nature of knockout fixtures meant they could not breathe ahead of the second leg, especially after they surrendered a two-goal lead in Bissau.
Much to their apprehension, the first half ended goalless at UJ Esuene Stadium with striker Wasiu Alalade missing a couple of half chances for Paul Aigbogun’s side.
Much of the tension was doused though just before the hour mark when Alalade was brought down inside the penalty box. Kano Pillars midfielder Alassan Ibrahim kept his cool to dispatch from twelve yards.
Ibrahim’s goal in the end sent Nigeria through with a 3-2 aggregate score and will now face Mauritania who were shock winners over Guinea, edging out their West African rival on away goals rule.
In other results, Ghana beat Algeria 2-0 with goals from Mohammed Kudus and Ibrahim Sadiq – both part of Ghana’s U-17 World Cup campaign in India 2017 –. The Starlets will face Benin in the next round after the Baby Squirrels beat Gambia 3-2 on aggregate.
Other aggregate scores:
Gabon 3-2 Coted’voire
Rwanda 1-3 Zambia
Tanzania 2-6 Mali
Mozambique 1-4 South Africa
Malawi 5-3 Angola
Botswana 1-4 Congo
Egypt 0-0 Senegal (Senegal progress 7-6 on penalties)
Uganda 1-1 Cameroon (Cameroon progress 5-4 on penalties)