Nigeria’s U-23 players were like guinea fowls in their encounter with Guinea, making their anticipated flight to Paris 2024 Olympics doubtful.
They failed to take advantage of home soil and finished their U23 Africa Cup of Nations final qualifying fixture, first leg match against Guinea 0-0 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Wednesday.
Success Makanjuola and Timilehin Ogunniyi, who ran Tanzania out of gas in Ibadan in October last year, could not produce the same fiery performance as Guinea stifled Nigeria’s midfield play, created chances of their own and were solid at the rear.
In the 28th minute, Ogunniyi rocked the crossbar from a free-kick 20 yards out on the right, but that turned out the major effort of the Olympic Eagles in a tepid game that did not quite live up to its billing.
Makanjuola’s inswinger in the 45th minute was parried from danger by goalkeeper Mory Keita.
In the second half, the visitors came quite close when Ousmane Camara hit the upright from a corner kick. Ifeanyi Ogba blasted a couple of opportunities wide, and in the 64th minute, Jonathan Alukwu watched in agony as Keita punched away his shot when Nigeria flowed forward.
On the dot of time, Nigerian defender Christopher Nwaeze was handed the red card for a second bookable offence, and will miss the return leg in Rabat on Tuesday.