Beaten U23 Eagles expected from Tunisia Friday

Pius Ayinor

Beaten U23 Olympic Eagles are expected to return from Tunisia on Friday morning aboard an Air Maroc flight, an official of the Nigeria Football Federation confirmed to our reporter on Thursday.

Libya stunned defending champions Nigeria 2-0 as both countries opened their AFCON U-23 double-header qualifier at the Stade de Ben Guerdane in Tunisia on Wednesday, Extrasportsnigeria.com reports.

Nigeria coach Imama Amapakabo’s fielded a classy squad dominated by foreign-based professionals. The team has Villareal’s Samuel Chukwueze, Arsenal’s Kelechi Nwakali and Liverpool’s Taiwo Awoniyi.

The Libyans took an early lead after just seven minutes when Zakaria Alharaish put his team ahead even as the Nigerians assumed it was a temporary setback.

The game took a worse turn for Nigeria after goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar was red carded in the late minutes of the first half. He was sent away for handling the ball outside the area.

While Dennis Bonaventure made way in a tactical change after the setback, Orewale Oremade was brought on to mind the goal but that did little to stem the flow of the Libyans as they doubled their lead in the second half after another quick breakaway to leave Nigeria with a mountain to climb in the return fixture.

 Nigeria will host them in the reverse game at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on March 25.

Nigeria U23 Starting XI Vs Libya: Adamu; Ebube, Lazarus, Joshua, Stephen; Azubuike, Kelechi Nwakali, Dennis; Chukwueze, Awoniyi, Olabiran