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Golden Eaglets are African champions

Posted by Guardian on 2007/03/26 | Views: 1150 |

Golden Eaglets are African champions


NIGERIA won the 2007 African Under-17 Championship yesterday after beating host, Togo, 1-0 in Lome.

NIGERIA won the 2007 African Under-17 Championship yesterday after beating host, Togo, 1-0 in Lome.

The Golden Eaglets left it very late as substitute Akinsola Kabiru finally broke the deadlock in the 119th minute. The match had gone into extra-time after a hard-fought encounter ended goalless in normal time. The Eaglets thus equalled Ghana's record of two wins of the championship, as Nigeria had won the trophy in 2001, beating Mali 3-1 in Seychelles.

Akinsola pounced on a loose ball after a blunder in the Togolese defence to break the hearts of the 50,000 local supporters. They filed out of the stadium in mournful mood as CAF President, Issa Hayatou, presented the Nigerians with the trophy. Yet, they could take some pride from the hosts' gallant display and performance in a championship where they had not been expected to reach the final.

Meanwhile, Nigeria won the tournament for the second in history following the inaugural triumph in 2001. Last weekend, Ghana won the third-place play-off by beating Tunisia 1-0. The Black Starlets' Sadick Adams scored the only goal of the match after 24 minutes.

Before the final minutes of the final match, there was a blackout in the stadium, which held match for 10 minutes. The final 5 minutes was played after the light was restored to the stadium. The Eaglets' jubilation was also cut short when the light went off the second time.

To play in the final, Eaglets defeated Tunisia 2-0 while Togo edged out Ghana 2-1. In the semi-final, two first-half goals from striker Chrisanthus Macaulley helped Nigeria to the win over the north Africans. The Golden Eaglets dominated the early exchanges and Macaulley took advantage of a defensive mix-up to open the scoring after three minutes. Macaulley increased the tally with a clever chip from the edge of the box 10 minutes before the break.

Meanwhile, Togo needed a stoppage time header from substitute Salifou Saibou to defeat Ghana. But it was the Black Starlets who took the lead through striker Ransford Osei in the 12th minute, before Korodowou Moise's equaliser just before the half hour.

All four semi-finalists are through to FIFA Under-17 World Cup holding in South Korea in August. In the third place match, Ghana beat Tunisia 1-0.

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