Nigeria’s Flying Eagles got their first three points of the football event of the ongoing 12th Africa Games with a 2-1 win over South Africa at the FAR Sports Complex in Rabat on Tuesday.
Goals by Collins Sor and Ahmed Ghali ensured Nigeria went top of Group A of the men’s football event at the on-going competition.
Coach Paul Aigbogun made three changes to the lineup that drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso with Adesina Gata coming in for Success Makanjuola, while Liameed Quadri took the place of Samuel Nnoshiri and Mathew Yakubu replaced a crocked Detan Ogundare in goal.
Nigeria started brightly and could have taken the lead but for a plethora of missed chances notably by Collins Sor, Ahmad Ghali and Saeed Jibril. Sor eventually broke the deadlock in the 27th minute after cooly finishing Saeed Jibril’s pass.
South Africa equalised through Ofentse Mashiane who found space in the Flying Eagles defence to equalise in the 55th minute.
Nigeria coach Aigbogun brought on Success Makanjuola and Chinonso Emeka for Saeed Jibril and Collins Sor and this helped increase the tempo in the Nigeria attack which resulted in the winning goal. Ibrahim Abubakar found space to run at the South African defence and whip in a cross which was met by Ahmad Ghali for his second of the competition and the winner for Nigeria.
The Flying Eagles top the group with four points and will now play hosts Morocco in their last group game on Friday in Rabat.
Meanwhile, Aigbogun said beating South Africa 2-1 was important but not a moment to celebrate yet.
“We thank God that we won, which is the most important thing but it is not yet the moment for us to celebrate.
“It was a difficult game, but it was our problem. We should have gone four goals up at least by the end of the first half.
“But the situation here was not good for us. The sun was a problem, especially at this hour. However, we were not the only ones affected, and we will now see how it goes as we move on.
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“The second half was better, and we were able to finish the job. Now, we will look ahead to our last group game on Friday to ensure we get a good result and progress to the semi-finals,” he said.
Speaking on the substitution of Yira Collins who scored the team’s first goal and was tormenting the South Africans, Aigbogun said it was highly necessary.
“Collins had a slight knock from our first match, and we only wanted just about 50 to 60 minutes from him.
“As it is, we have only him (Collins) and one or two others with slight injuries,” he said.