Nigeria U20 team has made a winning start to the first leg of its two legged encounter with the Junior Pharaohs of Egypt after recovering from a goal down to beat the hosts 3-1 on Wednesday afternoon in Cairo.
Christian Pyabara fired a brace while team captain Abduljelil Ajagun netted the other as the Flying Eagles were on rampage against their host in a match played at the Degla Stadium outside Cairo.
Both nations used the encounter and that of the second leg billed for Friday as preparation for both teams quest for the title at the next month’s African Youth championship in Algeria.
The hosts took the lead against the run of play in the 50th minute through a header by Ibrahim El-Sayid El-hadad off a corner.
But the Nigeria U20s fought back thereafter and deservedly drew level in the 61st minute when Sharks forward Pyabara finally smash home a rebound after his first attempt came off the post.
Skipper Ajagun then extended the Flying Eagles lead in the 77th minute he jabbed home from inside the box after yet another flowing team buildup from the right.
Pyabara then made it 3-1 in the 81st minute when he headed home a delightful cross from the left by Kingsley Madu.
Ajagun could have widened the margin eight minutes from time but somehow he missed in front of a begging net.
In the first half, the Flying Eagles were by far the better team and created the better chances but could not put any away.
A fifth minute header by Ikechukwu Okorie off a Pyabara corner missed narrowly and on 15 minutes, Ajagun’s shot appeared to have crossed the goal line when it came off the underside the crossbar but it was not given.
In the 35th minute, the lively Pyabara set up Ajagun, but his final effort missed by a whisker.
Egypt’s best opening in the first half was after seven minutes, when goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel made a meal of a clearance and Ahmad El-Sayid Ya’afat broke through only for Chizoba Amaefule to clear off the goal line.
The Junior Pharaohs’ other big openings were in the 49th minutes when goalkeeper Daniel scrambled to safety a near post header by the dangerous Ya’afat and then in the 75th minute when Faris Afifi from Dutch club Utrecht failed to make hay.
The two teams will again square up on Friday night at the same venue.
The Flying Eagles will then depart for Tunis, Tunisia on Saturday morning to continue the build-up for the defence of their AYC crown won in South Africa in 2011.
The 2013 AYC in Algeria will kick off on March 16 and the Flying Eagles must secure a berth out of the available two in. Group B which has Gabon, Mali and DR Congo as Nigeria's other opponents.