The national under-23 team, the Dream Team VI, on Saturday in Abuja defeated Nigeria Professional Football League clubside, Warri Wolves, 2-1 at the ongoing Super 4 Invitational Tournament.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the match played at the National Stadium saw the Dream Team VI take an early lead.
Augustine Amutu scored for them during a goalmouth scramble in the third minute.
Warri Wolves had a chance of their own in the 26th minute when Joseph Osadiaye got into the penalty box, but opted to lay a pass instead of shooting.
Goalkeeper Jonah Usman was on hand to pick up the loose ball.
Chris Madaki could have doubled the lead for the under-23 side in the 36th minute, but his powerful strike from long range narrowly missed target.
The Dream team continued to dominate most part of the game as they had several other chances at goal, but failed to double their lead.
They were left to rue their missed chances in the early minutes of the second half when Warri Wolves were awarded a penalty kick.
This was after goalkeeper Usman was booked for a foul on Kufre Ebong in the penalty area.
Gift Atuliwa stepped up and rolled the ball past Usman to hand Warri Wolves the equaliser in the 48th minute.
The under-23 team however restored their lead barely three minutes later, after the referee awarded a penalty kick for a reckless tackle by Warri Wolves’ defender,Monday Osagie, on Amutu.
Osagie was indeed lucky to have escaped without a booking.
Baker Ebiabowei restored the Dream Team’s lead from the penalty spot in the 51st minute.
Warri Wolves made two changes in the 56th minute, bringing in Eze Chisom for Olaleye Adeniyi and Abu Azeez for Kelvin Itoya to beef up their attack.
But all their efforts yielded no result as the Dream Team held on for a 2 -1 victory.
Fatai Amoo, the stand-in head coach of the team, later told newsmen after the game that it was a tough match, but that his boys resilience helped them.
Amoo said: “It was a good match and I must commend Warri Wolves for putting up a good fight.
“My boys held their ground at the end and deserved the victory.
“Most of the players have not performed at this level and, given more opportunities, they will improve.
“However, we will need to work on all departments of the game to build a perfect team.”
Also, Usman Mohammed, the team’s captain, said he was excited playing at this level for the first time and hoped to use similar opportunities to showcase his talents.
On his part, Paul Aigbogun, the Warri Wolves’ Chief Coach, said he was quite pleased with the outcome of the game.
Aigbogun said: “The aim of the tournament, for us, is not to come and win every game, but to try to have another look at our new players and keep the old players match fit ahead of the upcoming season.
“We just resumed training and have not played any competitive or tough game.
“So, this for us is not a bad start.
“We will hopefully improve as the tournament progresses.”
The tournament, which kicked off on Saturday, is expected to end on February 1.