The Flying Eagles pronounced their presence to all participating teams by overcoming the hosts Senegal 3-1 in the opening match of the Championship on Sunday at the Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium in Dakar.
Taiwo Awoniyi’s brace in the first-half and a Ifeanyi Michael goal towards the end of the half was enough for Nigeria to snatch all three points in the Group A clash with Sarr Sidy pulling one back for the hosts. The Flying Eagles forward capitalized on serious defensive errors by the Senegalese to score both goals.
Motivated by cheers from a drumming crowd, the ‘Gaiinde’ settled in and scored in 26 minutes through Sidi Sarr. From then on, Senegal constantly raided Nigerian penalty area leading to two scoring opportunities in a spate of two minutes towards the end of the first-half. On the 39th minute, with only the Nigerian Keeper Enaholo to beat, Sarr could not put on a fine finish whilst Ibrahim Wadji headed wide in a similar position.
The Flying Eagles affirmed their lead just before the break through Matthew with a shot that beat Senegal Keeper Sy to make matters worse for the host.
However, the Senegalese were the better of the second-half but could not assert their dominance on the score sheet with Soro Mbaye missing from close range after being put through by Moussa Kone’s excellent pass.
The Host have all to play for on March 11 when they take on Ivory Coast who drew 1-1 with Congo in the second match.
By: Jammeh E.K. Bojang