Holders Nigeria are through to the final round of the U-20 AFCON Zambia 2017 qualifiers after defeating Burundi 2-1 on Saturday in Calabar to complete a double over the latter.
The Flying Eagles, 1-0 winners from the first leg in Bujumbura last month survived early onslaughts from the visitors in a first half that produced no goal.
The first goal of the match only came in the 72nd minute courtesy a penalty converted by Nigeria talisman and 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup Golden Boot winner, Victor Osimhen after Samuel Chukwueze was fouled inside the box.
Captain Kelechi Nwakali scored the second goal nine minutes later when he drove home a free kick from 23-yards.
The Burundians pulled one back three minutes from time through Magloire Ndikumana who cashed in on laxity in the Flying Eagles defence to make hay, but the Flying Eagles held on to claim a vital victory and set up a date with Sudan at the final round.
Nigeria coach Emmanuel Amuneke described the back-to-back victories over Burundi as a confident booster ahead of the final round meeting with Sudan.
“It was not an easy game because Burundi came with a game plan but we were able to contain them especially in the second half. The win is good for the confidence of the boys and we would continue to work hard in the coming days for our next matches against Sudan in order to qualify for the U-20 AFCON in Zambia next year,” noted Amuneke.
Elsewhere in Dakar, Aliou Badji struck twice in the second half to aid Senegal to a 2-0 win over Tunisia and 4-1 on aggregate.
Angola sealed the place at the ultimate round despite suffering a lone goal defeat away to Gabon in Libreville. Junior Mboulou Nzigou scored the only goal two minutes from time as the ‘Palanquinhas’ advanced 3-1 on aggregate.
South Africa’s Amajita secured their spot at the expense regional rivals Namibia thanks to a 2-0 win in Johannesburg. Fagrie Lakay broke the deadlock from the spot on 25 minutes before Liam Jordan put the icing on the cake two minutes from time to ensure progress 2-0 on aggregate.
Earlier on Friday, Egypt saw off Rwanda 3-2 on penalties in Cairo after a 1-0 win by the visitors took the tie to kicks from the short distance.
Seven teams will emerge from the qualifiers to join host Zambia for the final tournament of the 20th edition of U-20 Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for 26 February to 12 March 2017.
Source: Confederation of African Football