Salisu Yusuf’s Olympic Eagles see red in AFCON qualifier against Guinea

The Olympic Eagles played a goalless draw against Guinea in their AFCON qualifier

U-23 AFCON Salisu Yusuf’s Olympic Eagles see red in AFCON qualifier against Guinea

Joba Ogunwale 18:04 - 22.03.2023

The U-23 Super Eagles are in danger of missing out on the Olympics for the second consecutive competition after failing to beat Guinea.

Nigeria’s U-23 Eagles have a mountain to climb in their quest to qualify for the Africa U23 Cup of Nations later this year after playing a goalless draw against Guinea in the first leg of the final qualifying round at Moshood Abiola Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. 

Salisu Yusuf’s men had reached the final qualifying round after beating Tazania across two legs 2-1 on aggregate. 

Salisu's Yusuf Eagles fail to show their quality 

The team’s preparation for the clash was far from ideal as they had their venue changed from the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan to Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja. 

Also, coach Salisu Yusuf had to rejig his squad for the clash after about 16 players were caught in age controversies. 

Olympic Eagles coach Salisu Yusuf had to make changes to his squad ahead of the clash against Guinea
Olympic Eagles coach Salisu Yusuf

The former Rangers coach had to invite a host of foreign players, including the in-form Gift Orban, who could not honour the invitation. 

Gift Orban, 15 other players called up after Olympic Eagles age scandal

Nonetheless, Nigeria went into the clash with full optimism. Salisu Yusuf went with a full-strength lineup, with Akwa United’s Ifeanyi Ogba leading the line. 

The Olympic Eagles started on the front foot and almost took the lead inside three minutes, but a strong defending from the Guineans denied the host. 

Nigeria came close to scoring again in the 28th minute, but Omo Jesu’s free-kick could only hit the bar. 

That was as good as it got for Nigeria in the first half, as Guinea were solid defensively for the remainder of the half. 

Flightless Eagles face another AFCON failure

The second half took a different route as Guinea almost opened the scoring from a corner kick, but thankfully, the bar spared Nigeria’s blushes. 

The Guineans grew in confidence as the game progressed, but it was Nigeria that had the first shot on target through Makanjuola. 

However, the Guinea goalkeeper was strong enough to deny the youngster. Salisu tried to make things happen from the bench by making a couple of changes. 

The decision almost worked as Ogba was presented with a big chance. However, the Akwa United striker could only blaze his effort over the bar. 

He would almost rue the miss as a breakaway chance allowed Guinea to open the scoring, but Nurudeen Badmus in Nigeria’s goal did brilliantly to deal with the danger. 

Things went from bad to worse for Nigeria as Christopher Nwaeze received his marching orders in the 90th minute. 

Salisu Yusuf assures Nigerians of victory against Guinea

It did not matter, though, as Guinea were unable to capitalise. However, Salisu’s men now face the enormous task of going to Morocco for the second leg in search of a win or a score draw. 

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