Nigeria opened their Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations account with a hard fought 2-0 win over Burundi on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the Stade General Seyni Kountche in Niamey.
The Flying Eagles who have been tagged as the group favorites leaved up to expectation by breaking down a resolute Burundian team who managed to contain them in the first period which ended goalless.
Paul Osahon Aigbogun’s charges had several attempts on goal in the first half but failed to beat the outing keeper Rukundo in the Burundi goal.
Alhassan had a chance to give the Flying Eagles an early lead but his headed effort was poor and did’t trouble Rukundo
Rukundo pulled another brilliant save to deny Yahaya whose overhead volley was turn for a corner.
The young Burundians fought hard in the first half marching the strength of their Nigerian counterparts but felt short in the second period when Yahaya and Effiom both found the net.
Burundi where a threat going forward on the counter with the speedy Mohamed Amissi but the Nigerians managed to deal with his trickery and speed.
Nazifi Yahaya broke the deadlock ten minutes after the restart with a superb header to ease the pressure on his before Maxwell Effiom secured the victory with a stylish finish past the keeper.
The Flying Eagles now lead the group with three points two more than the hosts Niger and South Africa whom they face next.
Paul Osahon Aigbogun, (Head Coach, Nigeria)
“We had a lot of trouble before getting the win.”
“It was not an easy match because Burundi played well and we had a lot of trouble before we won. We have certainly beaten Burundi but recognize that our group is very strong.”
“It is for us now to take the games one after the other without neglecting any team.”
Joslin Bipfubusa, (Head Coach, Burundi)
“My players were a little demoralized after the first goal.”
“We had problems in the second period because after the first half our players had some confidence that the task will be easy for them because they managed to contain the Nigerians.”
“And after conceding the first goal I found that my players were a little demoralized when I told them to develop them because we could return to the score.”
“But now they take a second goal that ended our hopes. I congratulate Nigeria for their victory. We must know that we can lose the first game and come back later and why not qualify.”