The Super Eagles B defeated their counterparts from Burkina Faso 2-0 in a 2016 African Nations Championship qualifying match in Port Harcourt on Saturday.
A goal in each half, by Bature Yaro and Gbolahan Salami, settled an interesting contest that the Eagles could have won by a wider margin but for some wayward shooting in the first half and Chisom Chikatara’s several misses in the second.
The Eagles could have been ahead well before Bature Yaro rocked the net from an acute angle in the 24th minute, and afterwards, Osadembawen Okoro came close with a fierce shot that Bailou Mohamed struggled to parry over the bar.
The introduction of Kalu Orji for Solomon Kwambe at the beginning of the second half added more lustre to the Eagles’ bearing from the right. Jamiu Alimi and Austin Oboroakpo kept things tight at centre back, and skipper Chima Akas was impregnable on the left.
Paul Onobi, Ifeanyi Mathew and Bature Yaro impressed in midfield, but Tunde Adeniji failed to threaten the Burkina defenceline and it was no surprise when he gave way to Chikatara.
With 16 minutes left, Salami converted from the penalty spot after Ezekiel Bassey was upended in the box.
Chikatara ran into spaces very well but then failed to convert from good position on three occasions. Yet, Nigeria’s superiority was never in doubt, and at the end, the Eagles looked strong and confident to go through to the finals coming up in Rwanda 16 January – 7 February, 2016.
NFF President Amaju Pinnick said: “I am impressed with the Eagles display, though they really should have scored more goals. But I have faith in this squad and I believe they will go for victory in Burkina Faso next weekend.”
The return leg comes up in Ouagadougou on Saturday, 24 October.