Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets, two-times African champions, on Saturday finished as winners of Group A at the ongoing Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Tanzania.
The Eaglets drew 1-1 with Uganda at the Chamazi Stadium in Dar es Salaam to finish with seven points after three group stage matches.
As usual with them since the tournament began, the Eaglets created many chances but wasted them as they came, starting with Akinkunmi Amoo’s poor touch in the 17th minute.
Three minutes later, Wisdom Ubani lashed a shot narrowly over the bar from a free-kick.
At the other end, Uganda came close to taking the lead when Samson Kasozi headed the ball against the upright from a corner kick.
Nigeria had another narrow escape in the 25th minute as the East Africans put their feet on the throttle.
Four minutes later, Amoo wasted too much time when clear on goal.
Just before half time, with the goal at his mercy, the striker headed the ball far away from goal.
Uganda’s goalkeeper, Jack Komakech, saved from Fawaz Abdullahi and Ubani within two minutes of the restart.
Also, in the 58th minute, Uganda’s Andrew Kawooya rocked goalkeeper Sunday Stephen’s crossbar with a fierce drive from a free-kick.
In the 70th minute, Uganda drew the first blood as the Nigeria defenceline ball-watched from a corner kick.
Davis Ssekajja’s pullout only got a slight touch from goalkeeper Stephen, and substitute John Alou had the simplest task of nodding into an empty net.
Two minutes later, with the goalkeeper to beat, Ubani who was a two-goal hero against Tanzania on Sunday wasted another clear chance.
But a minute later, Nigeria were level as Ibraheem Jabaar read a long pass from substitute Olakunle Olusegun quite well.
He pushed it beyond onrushing goalkeeper Komakech with the Ugandan defence ball-watching.
Two minutes later, a typical fierce Ubani shot was punched away by Komakech.
With this result, the Golden Eaglets will in Wednesday’s semi-finals face the second-placed team in Group B.
Their opponents will be known on Sunday when group leaders Cameroon confront Senegal and second-placed Guinea tackle Morocco.
Meanwhile, Angola have joined Nigeria in the semi-finals from Group A, following their 4-2 defeat of Tanzania.
They finished runners-up with six points, after beating Uganda and losing to Nigeria.
The host nation ended up losing all three group phase matches, conceding 12 goals and scoring six.