The Flying Eagles of Nigeria have kicked off their 2019 U20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with a 2-0 win over Burundi on Saturday, February 2.

The 2-0 win put Nigeria on top of Group A after South Africa and host Niger played out a goalless draw earlier in their own game.

Nigeria took all three points from the Group A encounter courtesy of two second-half goals from Nazifi Yahaya and Effiom Maxwell.

The Flying Eagles dominated the first half although Burundi did create some half-chances to take the lead at the Stade General Seyni Kountche in Niamey.

It was Adamu Alhassan who first made an attempt in the early minutes but his header did not trouble Burundi goalkeeper Rukundo.

Rukundo frustrated the Flying Eagles in the first half, saving brilliantly to deny Yahaya’s overhead volley in the box.

Burundi also threatened in that first half as Mohamed Amissi troubled the Nigerians with his pace. The Flying Eagles took the lead in the 55th minutes through Yahaya whose superb header beat Rukundo.

Effiom doubled Nigeria’s advantage with an individual goal, beating a defender in the corner before curling his effort past Rukundo.

“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,” Flying Eagles coach Paul Aigbogun said after the game.

The 2-0 win put Nigeria on top of Group A after South Africa and host Niger played out a goalless draw earlier in their own game.

Nigeria will face South Africa on Tuesday, February 5 while Niger will play Burundi in the other Group A game.

The Flying Eagles will be aiming for a win against South Africa to earn a spot in the semifinals of the competition and a ticket to this summer’s FIFA U20 World Cup finals in Poland.

The championship continues on Sunday with matches in the all –West African Group B, where Senegal, Mali, Ghana and Burkina Faso slug things out.

 

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