Two penalty kicks ensured that Nigeria and Tanzania parted 1-1 on Saturday in Dar es Salaam in an Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying round first leg match.
Team captain Success Makanjuola put Nigeria ahead in the 29th minute, after Qudus Akanni was fouled and a penalty kick awarded to the visiting side.
The Nigerian side thereafter created and wasted a good number of goalscoring chances which, with a little more precision, would have put the match to bed by half-time.
The home team piled on the pressure in the second half at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.
They hit the crossbar on two occasions, before Djiboutian referee Souleiman Djama awarded them a penalty kick which was brilliantly converted in the 74th minute.
The Olympic Eagles fought tenaciously to earn a winner, but it was not to be.
However, they will return home with their heads high and determined to finish off the task when they host the Tanzanians at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan on Oct. 29.
The winners on aggregate will proceed to the next round of the Under-23 AFCON qualifying campaign.
The tournament, which is scheduled for Morocco in November 2023, will determine Africa’s flagbearers at the men’s football tournament of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.