The chances of Nigeria qualifying for Paris 2024 Olympics Games suffered a setback after the U23 national team were held to a goalless first leg draw by Guinea.
The match played yesterday at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja is the qualifier for U-23 AFCON to be held in Morocco between 24 June and 8 July 2023 which also serves as Olympics qualifiers
The Guineans in the early stages of the game dominated proceedings while snuffing out Olympic Eagles chances.
Nigeria had her first chance at goal in the 27th minute from a free kick taken by Oluwwatimilehin Ogunniyi whose effort hit the crossbar.
With three minutes to end of the first half, coach Salisu Yusuf made a double change and the impact was felt almost immediately as captain Success Makanjuola who hitherto had been quiet stung the hands of the Guinean goalkeeper, Mory Keita.
Shortly after, the Guineans nearly broke the deadlock but the Olympic Eagles were spared their blushes after the linesman raised his flag for offside which was the last action of the first half.
At the restart of the second half, the Junior Syli of Guinea continued from where they stopped in the first half which almost resulted in a goal but for defender Christopher Nwaeze nicknamed ‘captain’ clearing the ball to safety.
Despite the defensive set up by the Guineans, they controlled the game and had the best chance of the game to break the deadlock but for the sharp reaction of goalkeeper Nurudeen Badmos.
In the 89th minute, Nwaeze who was the standout player received his second yellow after bringing down a Guinean player who was clearly on goal.
Despite his dismissal, he received a standing ovation from the scanty fans as the match ended in a barren draw.
Nwaeze will miss the return leg in Rabat on Tuesday.