Nigeria beat Zambia, qualify for AAG

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A brace from Taiwo Awoniyi was enough to earn Nigeria ticket to football event 2015 All-Africa Games billed to hold in Congo Brazzaville as Samson Siasia-tutored side defeated Zambia -23 by 2-1 at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia on Sunday.

Lusaka victory was shocking to hosts as drew fans’ anger right after the second Nigeria goal. The restive fans threw cans onto the terrace to express their anger and later tried to bar the Nigeria team from leaving the pitch.

security that was beefed at the venue later ensured the exit of the Nigeria team from the stadium.

The first leg fixture between the two sides had ended goalless in Abuja a fortnight ago, but the Nigeria team, featuring some key players from the Flying Eagles that won the 2015 African Championship, were more determined to grab the ticket.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]

Awoniyi had put Nigeria ahead in the 34th minute but the hosts drew level in the 76th as substitute Friday Samu beat goalkeeper Daniel Emmanuel from close range. Awoniyi was to seal victory with four minutes left in regulation time.

Zambia took control of the game right from the beginning as the combination of Mukuka Mulenga and Shadreck Malambo mounted pressure on the Nigeria defence.

The hosts came close to scoring in the 23rd minute but Ronald Kampamba’ attempt came off the woodwork. He missed a couple of scoring chances thereafter.

As the pressure increased for an equaliser, coach Samson Siasia opted to strengthen the defence with the substitution of Bernard Bulbwa for Mustapha Abdullahi in the 52nd minute. The slow motion in the earned Bulbwa a yellow card.

Despite the fortification in the Nigeria defence, the Zambians did not relent in their quest for an equaliser but Azubuike Okechukwu and Kingsley Sokari kept control of the midfield, while Emmanuel was kept busy at goal.

The pressure eventually paid off in the 76th minute when Malambo Samu to from close range.

Kampamba nearly gave the hosts the lead when he tried chipping the ball over Emmanuel but the goalkeeper made an easy save.
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Any hope of a victory for Zambia was, however, erased with Awoniyi’ 86th minute winner. The goal silenced the spectators who later jerked into by throwing cans on the terrace in anger.

Nigeria -23 team missed the last All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique and the 2012 Olympics. (Punch)