The match began in dramatic fashion, with Morocco taking the lead in the 2nd minute through an unfortunate own goal by Nigeria’s Tochukwu Ogboji.
In a nail-biting U17 Africa Cup of Nations encounter on Wednesday, Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Morocco at the Stade Mohammed Hamlaoui in Constantine.
The match began in a dramatic fashion, with Morocco taking the lead in the 2nd minute through an unfortunate own goal by Nigeria’s Tochukwu Ogboji.
The young Nigerians refused to let the early setback dampen their spirits, as they gradually built confidence and pushed forward in search of an equaliser.
In the 20th minute, the Eaglets began to find their footing, but Abubakar Abdullahi squandered a close-range opportunity just a minute later.
Nigeria continued to press, winning a free kick in the 29th minute near the Moroccan goal area.
The initial effort was blocked, and although Abdullahi’s follow-up shot went off target, he was already in an offside position.
As the first half drew to a close, Nigerian defender Jeremiah Olaleke received a yellow card, and the teams headed into the break with Morocco holding firmly to their slim 1-0 lead.
In the second half, coach Nduka Ugbade made a substitution in the 46th minute, bringing on Anougu Aondoakaa for Tochukwu Ogbadibo.
The Eaglets remained on the front foot, with goalkeeper Richard Odoh making a brilliant save from a Moroccan freekick in the 48th minute.
Nigeria continued to create chances, but a lack of a finishing touch in the final third hampered their efforts.
Hope Linus’ 54th-minute free kick was saved by the Moroccan goalkeeper, while Favour Daniel missed a close-range opportunity in the 61st minute.
In the 64th minute, Nigeria made another change, with Light Eke replacing Precious Williams.
Despite their relentless pressure and fighting spirit, the Golden Eaglets couldn’t find a breakthrough, and the match ended in a 1-0 defeat.
The young Nigerians will now look to bounce back in their next game against South Africa, hoping to demonstrate the same determination and resolve they displayed in Constantine.
As for Morocco, they have all but sealed their place in the quarter-final and are also a step closer to picking one of the tickets to represent Africa at the U-17 World Cup later this year.