Nigeria U17 7-0 Congo U17: Kelechi Iheanacho inspires Congolese demolition
The Golden Eaglets trampled on the Junior Red Devils to qualify for the Caf U17 semi-finals as well as the Fifa U17 World Cup in UAE
By Shina Oludare
It was an evening of goals at the Grande Stade de Marrakech as Nigeria U17 team went goal crazy against their hard tackling Central African opponents who had two of their players sent off for serious foul play.
A hat trick from Kelechi Iheanacho and a brace from Isaac Success plus goals from Ifeanyi Mathew and Musa Yahaya were all the Garba Manu side needed to breeze past the Congolese who finished third at the last edition held in Rwanda.
Bersyl Obassi had earlier forced a brilliant save off the gloves of goalkeeper Adewale Adewale. It took Kelechi Iheanacho just 4 minutes to break the deadlock after profiting from a Bernard Bulbwa after beautifully controlled a Musa Yahaya’s cross.
The Congolese came out in their numbers to erase the one goal deficit, but Izu Omego was at alert to curtail the opponents’ attacking forays.
Leading marksman in the tournament, Isaac Success doubled the lead in the 27th minutes after he buried a chip from Bulbwa inside the net.
Know that their aspiration of qualifying for the next round is now a dead issue, the Ekariki Basile boys switched for dangerous play from foul play. Imouele was sent off by Joshua Bondo, the referee from Botswana after a challenge on an Eaglet in the penalty area. Isaac Success was calm as he scored the resulting penalty kick which incidentally his sixth of the campaign.
Minutes later, the Junior Devils were reduced to nine men after Yobi was given the marching order and on the 43rd minute, Iheanacho got his second goal of the evening after a simple tap from Success low cross from the right flank of the Congolese defence.
On resumption of the second half, the Eaglets continued from where they stopped with Musa Yahaya getting the fifth goal in the 48th minutes to the dismay of Congolese goalie.
The Central Africans could not reduce the tally even with the introduction of Banzouzzi and Bakaki.
Ifeanyi Mathew got the sixth goal after a screamer outside the Congolese goal area benefiting from Kelechi Iheanacho’s tailor made pass.
In a bid to avert more danger, Coach Basile lads decided to park the bus in front of their goal as the Nigeria could not get more goal.
However on the 86th minutes, Kelechi Iheanacho completed his hatrick after a howler from Ombandza who was in goal for the Congolese.
Nigeria will face the Junior Carthage Eagles of Tunisia at the Grande Stade de Marrakech in the second semifinals on April 24 after Cote D’ivoire who played out a scoreless draw with the Black Starlets might have faced hosts, Morocco in the first semifinals.