Flying Eagles fail as South Africa clinch 3rd place in Niger

African Football By: Ikponmwosa Umweni | 16/02/2019

U-20 AFCON: Flying Eagles tackle South Africa for 3rd place

Flying Eagles of Nigeria fail again as South Africa clinch third place after 5-3 win over the seven champions in Niger in the ongoing U20 Africa Nations Cup on Saturday evening.

After neither side could be separated after 90 minutes, South Africa ended a highly impressive campaign on a high with victory over Nigeria on penalties after both side meeting for the second time in the competition.

As expected with the clash slightly more than a dead rubber for either side, Nigeria and South Africa’s technical team opted to make a number of changes to their playing personnel.  

The best chance of the opening minutes came the way of Nigeria when an overhit cross created some nervy moments for Amajita goalkeeper Khulekani Kubheka who watched on as the ball landed on the roof of the net.

Nigeria though dominated possession but lacked any penetrative ability as they looked to build on the four goals they have scored in the competition thus far as  Amajita were clearly struggling and did not test Detan Ogundare at all during the first half.

However, once again, the opening minutes of the second half saw possession turned over far too easily by both sides as the Southern African nation have only managed two goals on their road to the semi-finals as they were locked out by a rigid Senegalese defence in the semi-final, and their lack of goals upfront was telling against Nigeria as they struggled in the final third.

At the other end, the Amajita keeper was finally tested with an acrobatic effort by Maxwell Effiom.

Nigeria were upping the ante as they looked to better their earlier result against Amajita which was a 0-0 draw, and Paschal Durugbor came close when his glancing header flew just over the crossbar.

The Flying Eagles were giving it a real go especially as the game was reaching the dying embers of regulation time and a mistake by Kubheka almost led to a goal after he failed to hold on to a cross but thankfully for him, the Nigerian attacker failed to take full advantage as the ball went out for a goal kick.

Nigeria set wave after wave of pressure on the Amajita goal but Thabo Senong's men were holding firm and showed just why they have conceded just two goals in the tournament.

This meant that the game would head straight to a penalty shootout where Kubheka was the hero denying Alhassan as Amajita claimed their maiden third place finish.