Nigeria will meet neighbours Benin in the final of the WAFU B U20 Championship on Friday as both sides qualified for the Total Energies U20 Africa Cup of Nations following their victories in the semi-final of the competition in Niger on Tuesday.
The Flying Eagles sealed their place in the final after an energy sapping 2-1 extra-time victory over Cote d’Ivoire while Benin stunned Burkina Faso 2-1 in the first game of the day at the Seyni Kountche Stadium in Niger.
The highly anticipated clash between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire lived up to expectation as the Flying Eagles imposed their physique on the Ivorians to triumph.
Following the 1-1 draw in regulation time, Nigeria proved superior in extra time through Ibrahim Yahaya who also secured the U20 AFCON qualification for his country after converting a 109th minute penalty.
Things also started very quickly for Nigeria, who took advantage of an error by the Ivorian goalkeeper to open the scoring early in the game. Daniel Daga’s goal on four minutes came from a corner kick taken by Ibrahim Muhammad.
The Ivorians attempted to respond several times but Abdoulaye Djire (29th) and Abdramane Konate (30th) did not take advantage of the opportunities.
Just before the break Seydou Traoré, the Elephants’ striker, got the Ivorians back into the game when he combined effectively with his midfielders to restore parity.
The two sides tried to win the match after the break but the defenders of both teams stood tall until the end of regulation time. Elephants and Super Eagles are taken into extra time.
Nigeria goes to the final and meets Benin, who beat Burkina Faso 2-1 in extra-time in the first semi-final.