2019 U20 AFCON: Flying Eagles suffer penalty shoot-out loss to Mali in semi-final clash

The Flying Eagles will now face South Africa in the Third Place match on Saturday, February 16. 

2019 U20 AFCON: Flying Eagles suffer penalty shoot-out loss to Mali in semi-final clash  (CAF)

The game went into penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra-time and it was the Malians who won the shoot-out to progress to their first U20 AFCON final in history. 

It was the Malians who first scored in the game but the Flying Eagles fought back with five minutes left to play to drag the game into extra-time and penalties. 

The Paul Aigbogun’s side were the better side early in the game as they forced the Malians into defending. 

In the sixth minute, Nigeria got their first chance but Nasifi Yahaya was only able to hit the crossbar after getting in a pass at the edge of the box. 

The Flying Eagles got another chance in the eighth minute but Mali goalkeeper Koita Youssouf made a brilliant save to deny Ibrahim Abubakar.  

But after the fine start, the Flying Eagles struggled as the game became colourless till halftime.

It was the Malians who got the first chance in the second half but Flying Eagles goalkeeper Olawale Oremade was quick off his line to deny Sekou Koita.

Mali got their goal in the 78th minute through Mamadou Traore but substitute Paschal Durugbor drew Nigeria level with five minutes left to play.

After 90 minutes and extra-time, the game went into penalties. 

Ikuowen Udoh, Mohammed Jamil, Effiong Maxwell all converted their kicks for the Flying Eagles, while Valentine Ozornwafor and Aniekeme Okon missed theirs.

For Mali, Lassana N’Diaye, Hassan Traore, Abdoulaye Diaby and El Bilal Toure all scored, while Boubacar Traore missed.

It was Toure that scored the decisive spot-kick after Okon missed his kick for Nigeria as Mali avenged for their loss to the Flying Eagles also on penalties at the 2018 U-20 WAFU Cup tournament in Lome, Togo in December.

The Flying Eagles will now face South Africa in the Third Place match on Saturday, February 16. 

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