What a game of fluctuating fortunes! What a thriller! What a goal-full match as Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets had to dig deep to survive scary Serengeti Boys of Tanzania in the opening match of the CAF U-17 Nations Cup in Dar es Salaam.
It was a thriller from beginning to end and the Nigerian side won 5-4. All the goals, save the penalty kicks, could go for television exhibition any day. No one could have predicted a close, but mouthful score line.
The Nigerian side took command from the start and soon shot into the lead through Olatomi Olaniyan in the 21st minute. The celebration by the Nigerian side had hardly subsided when Tanzania cancelled the lead through Edmund John.
Golden Eaglets snatched the lead again in the 30th minute through Wisdom Ubani. Akinkunmi Amao increased the tally seven minutes later when he rounded up the Tanzanian goalkeeper, Mwinyi Yahya before slotting the ball into the net.
At half time, Nigeria led 3-1 giving the impression of a possible massacre of the hosts. But never underestimate the spirit of the Tanzanians.
They came in more forcefully in the second half. Dare Devil, Kelvin John struck in the 52nd minute with a surprising but thunderous shot almost from the half line.
That reduced the tally to 2-3 and the Tanzanians pressed on and were aided in their come back by an own goal by Suleman Shaibu. The hosts pressed on and on and got a penalty kick award converted by Edmund John to give the hosts the lead for the first time.
In the 71st minute, Nigeria made a substitution as Ibraheem Jabaar came in for Olatomi Olaniyan. Jabaar was to get the winner for Nigeria nine minutes later after Wisdom Ubani had restored parity.
Nigeria will face Angola on Wednesday.