U23 AFCON Zambia 1 Nigeria 3 : Okonkwo, Nwakali, Awoniyi Strike As Dream Team

Written by on November 12, 2019

Nigeria recorded a thrilling 3-1 victory over Zambia in their second match of this year’s U-23 African Cup Of Nations tournament at the All Salam Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Coach Imama Amapakabo made changes to the team that lost to Ivory Coast last time out, with Azubuike Okechukwu, Valentine Ozonwafor, Sincere Seth and Bitok Stephen all coming into the side from the off.
The Zambian duo of Enock Mwepu and Patson Daka looked a thorn in the flesh for the Dream Team and twice combined in the early exchanges, but Valentine Ozonwafor was quick to block a shot by the former inside the opening five minutes.
Emmanuel Banda was next to threaten for the Zambians when he shot low but his effort was blocked.
The opposition’s threat soon paid off in the 12th minute when Daka beat Adamu Abubakar from the left side of the box after a swift break led by Banda.
But Nigeria hauled themselves level four minutes later as Bologna’s Orji Okonkwo found the bottom left corner after Ibrahim Sunusi had set him up from a corner situation.
Liverpool-owned striker Taiwo Awoniyi twice went close in the first half, first seeing his header kept out following a sizzling cross from Okonkwo before he was yet denied a goal with a shot from outside the box.
The Olympic Eagles had their noses in front on the 65th minute mark thanks to former Arsenal starlet Kelechi Nwakali who won and curled home a sumptuous free kick to kick start boisterous celebrations from the faithfuls in the stands.
And after some more misses from what was a tough second period, Awoniyi will eventually find his goal to make it 3-1 when he rattled home a right footed shot from range thanks to a fast attack from Ndifreke Effiong.
Nigeria will qualify for the knockout stages with a favourable result against South Africa in their next group game.
Nigeria’s starting XI: Adamu Abubakar, Bitok Stephen, Valentine Ozonwafor, Anthony Izuchukwu, Seth Sincere, Azubuike Okechukwu, Kelechi Nwakali, Orji Okonkwo, Ndifreke Udo, Ibrahim Sunusi, Taiwo Awoniyi

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