Egypt overcomes Ivory Coast
Egypt 2-1 Ivory Coast
S. Africa 2-1 Nigeria
South Africa stunned Nigeria 2-1 and Egypt defeated Ivory Coast by the same score in group B matches of the African Youth Championship played yesterday at Regional stadium, Nyamirambo.
Pre-match favourites Nigeria paid a heavy price for missing a 3rd minute penalty and also allowed South Africa to come from behind to snatch a well deserved win.
In the day’s first game, Egypt also came from behind to beat Ivory Coast 2-1 with both their goals coming in the second half.
Uchebo Ukechukwu put Nigeria ahead on the 70th minute but two goals in a space of four minutes turned the game in Sounth Africa’s favor.
First, Bhengu Phemulele equalized from the spot kick after left back Edile Origoya had impeded Masango Mandla in the forbidden area before Man of the Match George Maluleka won the game for his team with a powerful shot on a quick counterattack.
Captain Haruna Lukman shot wide a 3rd minute penalty after Oseni Bolaji had been impeded by South Africa’s captain Mphahlele Ramahlwe in the box which left Senegalese referee Fall Ousmane with the easiest decision.
Phumelele had the first goal attempt for South Africa but headed straight at the goalkeeper, however, it was Mandla who had the best two efforts of the opening 45 minutes which he put to waste.
Both Mandla and Phemulele were the tormentors in chief for the Nigerian defence all evening and the later deserved his goal that gave his team a deserved win against a more experienced Flying Eagles.
Serame Letsoaka’s team, like in the first game against Ivory Coast were deserved winners and they become the first team through to the last four before a ball of their last group match against Egypt on Sunday is kicked.
Nigeria, who came into the match as hot favourites found the going tougher than they anticipated and the loss leaves in a tight situation of needing to beat Ivory Coast on Sunday to be sure of a place in the semifinal. A draw may not be good enough.
Ivory Coast went ahead on the 28th minute through substitute Kone Koro Issa, who replaced the injured Kone Tiezan (ankle) but goals by Fathi Muhamed (61) and substitute El Sayed Hegazi, who headed in the winner seven minutes of coming on.
This was a game of two halves where Ivory Coast dominated the first 45 minutes and deserved their lead and it could have been more but Egypt came back after recess strongly and could have won by a bigger score line.
South Africa became the first team through to the semifinal and a place at the next World Youth Championship, leaving Nigeria and Egypt fighting for the remaining spot. Ivory Coast are virtually out of the competition after two straight defeats.
Group B table
Team P W D L Pts
S. Africa 2 2 0 0 6
Nigeria 2 1 0 1 3
Egypt 2 1 0 1 3
Ivory Coast 2 0 0 2 0