AYC 2013: Eaglets maul Congo, book s/ finals ticket

Nigeria’s U-17 team, otherwise known as the Golden Eaglets on Saturday rediscovered their scoring form as they whitewashed their Congolese counterparts 7-0 in the final group game.

The Marnu Garba tutored side made a blistering start to the competition, beating Ghana by 6- 1 in the first game of the tournament but however lost in a disappointing manner to the junior Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire on Wednesday, a result which put their qualification in doubt.

But a man of the match performance from Kelechi Iheanacho who bagged a hat-trick ensured the Eaglets book their semi finals place and ultimately qualified for this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup slated for October in the United Arab Emirates.

The match was barely three minutes old when Kelechi Iheanacho poked home with his left foot for Nigeria’s opening goal from inside the box. A cross from the right sailed over everyone in the box and Musa Yahaya sent back into the box a low cross which Iheanacho converted into the match’s first goal.

Any chance of a comeback was however put to bed by the rampaging Eaglets as the tournament’s leading highest goal scorer; Isaac Success scored a brace while Musa Yahaya and Ifeanyi Mathew got a goal each ensuring the Nigerian boys hit the next stage of the tournament in a commanding fashion.

Congo played for about an hour with nine men after two expulsions in the 32nd and 39th minutes but Nigeria was already 2-0 up at the time of the first expulsion.

Nigeria finished top of Group B with six points and will now play Tunisia in Marrakech on Wednesday while Cote d’ Ivoire who drew 0-0 with Ghana to finish a point behind Nigeria will play host Morocco in Casablanca on Tuesday to complete the semi-finals pairings.