Nigeria's under 20 team, the Flying Eagles, took a massive step towards reaching the third round qualifying series of the 2013 African Youth Championship after a 2-1 victory over Tanzania's junior Taifa stars on Sunday
Enugu Rangers striker, Alhaji Gero netted a first-half brace, before the home team pulled a goal back on 51 minutes through Alhaji Said.
Gero got Nigeria off to a dream start after just two minutes when he dashed into the Tanzania penalty area, before he fired a left-footed shot beyond goalkeeper Barwany Khomein Abubakar.
He was later denied a second goal by some brave goal keeping by the Tanzania keeper, before Simon Happygod Msuva broke through the Flying Eagles defence only for goalkeeper and skipper Samuel Okani to make a timely save.
The Ngorogoro Heroes responded positively as they used the long ball and their speed down the wings to pressure the Nigerian back four, reports superport.com.
Despite the pressure, the Flying Eagles still managed to create several goal scoring opportunities of their own.
Aminu Umar’s header from inside the box on 19 minutes missed its mark and Chidi Osuchukwu effort from close range also missed the target by whiskers.
A Happygod Msuva snap shot after half an hour went narrowly wide as the East Africans cranked up the pressure.
The Tanzanians eventually got their reward six minutes into the second half, when Alhaji Said headed home after he had earlier missed a similar opening in the 48th minute.
After the game, Tanzania coach, Jakob Michelsen refused to write off the chances of his side ahead of the return leg.
“We lost the first half, but won the second half and there are still two halves to be played.
“We made two terrible mistakes at both ends of the first half and we paid for them, but I believe we still have something to play for going into the second game even against the African champions.
“We played a good match and the players showed a lot of heart. With a bit of luck we should have got two penalties for hand ball, but all the same I’m proud of the boys,” said the Danish coach.
Nigeria coach, John Obuh also praised the second half showing of the Tanzanians.