Nigeria’s U-17, Golden Eaglets on Wednesday forced their Guinean counterparts to a 1-1 draw at Stade Général Seyni Kountché (SGSK) at the on-going African U-17 Championship in Niamey.
Captain Kelechi Nwakali yet again rescued Nigeria with a vital equalizer in the second half from the spot kick after Sam Diallo had scored the curtain raiser in the 11th minute through a penalty kick.
With the result, Nigeria still top the Group A section on a better goal difference despite having the same four points with the Guineans.
The fifth game of the tournament kicked off on a high tempo with the young Syli Nationale dominating the first 10 minutes of play by forcing the Golden Eaglets into their own half. A minute later, Nigeria conceded a penalty after defender Lukman Halilu brought down the skillful Yamodou Toure in the box and Sam Diallo dispatched the ball behind goalkeeper Akpan Udoh.
Thereafter, it was the Guineans that showed better initiatives in the attack forcing the Golden Eaglets on the defensive time and again.
Abdoulaye Jules Keita was handful on the left flank In the 22th minute, Victor Osimhen thought he had got the much needed equalizer but his powerful header off a cross form Samuel Chukwueze was disallowed by referee Jean Jacques Ngambo.
Almost at the stroke of half time, Halilu almost cost Nigeria a second goal after he spilled the ball again on the path of Ibrahima Camara whose faint-hearted shot was cuddled by Akpan.
Coach Emmanuel Amuneke brought in Ebere Osinachi for Christian Charles to add more bite into the attack. The permutation seemed to have paid off as Osinachi troubled the opposing team. In the 55th minute, he laid a pass for Kingsley Michael who saw his shot over the bar. Three minutes after, goalkeeper Udoh stopped what could have been a second goal for Guinea as he touched away Jules Keita’s volley.
But with the game five minutes away from stoppage time, the rough Guineans were punished for a foul in the box and Nwakali picked his angle; and fired the ball into the net.
The Golden Eaglets last and decisive game would be played against Zambia on Saturday at the Municipal Stadium in Niamey.
NIGERIA Vs. GUINEA: A. Udoh- L. John ; L. Halilu; D. Bamidele; A.
Usman- K. Nwakali; K. Michael;S. Abdullahi( O. Okonkwo 71); C.
Charles(E. Osinachi 45) – S. Chukwueze; V. Osimhen