Coach Emmanuel Amuneke has commended the Golden Eaglets following their 3-2 comeback win against Egypt in the first of their two-legged friendly at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna on Wednesday.
The visitors scored two first half goals through Mahmoud Mahbob and Walid Attid but were overhauled by Nigeria through goals from Samuel Chukwueze, Kelechi Nwakali and Sunday Alimi.
“I thank the players for their courage to win this match despite conceding two early goals,” Amuneke said.
“There were errors because this was the first time we were playing on a natural pitch since we had long been training on artificial surfaces. But overall, I praise them and we are going to work better for the next game on Friday.”
The Egyptians went into the lead just six minutes into the game following a loss of concentration at Nigeria’s end.
Defender Anas Mohammed playing as the right full back, failed to clear a ball and allowed Egypt’s Mohammed Hamdy to float a ball for Mahbob to effortlessly guide the ball into the net.
Five minutes later, the Eaglets were punished yet again in a similar circumstance when another ball was floated into the box for unmarked Walid Attid to nod the ball into an empty net beyond a badly positioned goalkeeper Amos Benjamin.
But Golden Eaglets fought back and in the 27th minute, Samuel Chukwueze pulled a goal back when he collected a through ball from Suleiman Abdullahi and ghosted past his marker before driving the ball beyond the reach of Egypt’s goalkeeper Mahmoud Gad.
Nigeria made changes in the second stanza as Alimi Sunday came in for injured Nuru Umar as well as Ebere Osinachi for Suleiman Abdullahi. The changes inspired the Eaglets.
Egypt conceded a penalty after new comer Osinachi was fouled in the box and Nwakali scored the resultant kick in the 68th minute. Sunday, a former national under-13 player would cap his debut with the Golden Eaglets when he grabbed the winning goal in the 86th minute much to the delight of the impressive spectators at the stadium.
The two teams will return to the same venue on Friday for the second match as they both continue their build up towards the 2015 CAN under-17 qualifiers in July.