NEVER SAY DIE CHAN EAGLES ESCAPE DEFEAT TO ANGOLA& QUALIFY FOR SEMIS
What a night it was for the CHAN eagles and all Nigerians who bothered to watch the game. It had everything Thrill, suspense, angry moments, Fist pumping moments and in the end relief and unbridled joy. Knock out football is called knock out for a reason. one slip and boom you are out. That was sooo nearly the case for the CHAN eagles as they made their slip and nearly paid for it. Only that the soccer gods somewhere up there said No, its going to be Nigeria’s day.
Their Angolan counterparts were probably the better side technically and looked a more fluid ball playing team compared to the CHAN EAGLES. They took the game to Nigeria adding pressure in specific areas like they had truly done their homework on us.
The Eagles had to come from behind before securing a 2-1 win over Angola on Sunday night in Tangiers.
After a barren first half in which both sides missed glorious chances, the Angola team went in front in the 55th minute.
It was looking like the end of the road for the Nigerian team until Anthony Okpotu popped up with a very late equalizer in the 91st minute after he showed good marksmanship by anticipating the flick on from a long ball and prodding home the equalizer.
With the game stretching into extra time, one of the new entrants, Gabriel Okechukwu, saved the day for Nigeria with a well-taken goal.
Despite fierce attempts by Angola to force the game to penalties, the coach Salisu Yusuf-tutored side held on as they became the third team to qualify for the semi-final where they will face Sudan.
It was really an impressive fightback, they could have lt their heads drop but no, they kept believing.
This is the second time the home-based Eagles will be making it to the semi-final since their debut in 2014 in South Africa where they finished third.
Vladimir Va’s goal looked to be enough to send Angola through but Anthony Okpotu scored a late goal to send the game into extra-time.
And in second half extra-time, Ikechukwu Gabriel scored the winner to send Nigeria into the last four.
The Home Eagles should have taken the lead just seconds into the game through last season’s Nigeria Professional Football League top scorer Okpotu, who was played through on goal and was one-on-one with the Angolan keeper Mavanga Landu but lost his footing
Special mention Must go to the Goal Keeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa who was simply brilliant he pulled off an amazing save in the 30th minute of the First half to stop a well struck goal bound shot from Calesso Mano. The save was truly world class.
The Team will now face SUDAN on wednesday who knocked out Zambia and it will be intresting to see how they perform and how far they go.