Nigeria and Guinea reached the semi-finals of the CAF Under-17 championships in Niger thus qualifying for the U17 World Cup, after finishing first and second respectively as Group A of the African championship was concluded on Saturday.
Nigeria beat Zambia 3-1 at the Stade Municipal to finish on seven points and grab the group’s top spot.
Hosts Niger handed Guinea a 2-1 defeat at the Stade Seyni Kountche but the four points collected in the first two group games were enough to see the Syli National juniors finish second.
Zambia and Niger finished on three points each having won one and lost two fixtures respectively.
At the Kountche, the hosts ensured that they finished the tournament on a high with two first half goals; the first as early as the second minute when Issoufou Boubabcar grabbed the opener after a good run into the Guinea box.
Ismael Lara restored the hosts’ advantage on 39minutes to the delight of the home crowd after Guinea goalkeeper Djibril Yattara failed to collect a loose ball inside the box.
Abdoulaye Keita had put Guinea on levels terms after 27minutes.
The second half saw no goals at the Stade Kountche but across the city at the Municipal, Nigeria and Zambia battled in a match which saw four goals; Nigeria skipper Kelechi Nwakali with a goal either side of a Victor Osimeh’s brace.
Zambia skipper Patson Daka grabbed Chipolopolo juniors’ consolation but the tournament debutants did not turn into goals all their second half chances to threaten Nigeria’s lead.
The bonus of the semi-finals placement at the CAF junior championship is a place at the FIFA U17 world cup finals set for Chile in October this year.
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