Goalkeeper Detan Ogundare was the hero as he saved four penalties for Nigeria to beat Mali 5-4 on penalties after sudden death to qualify for the African Games Gold Medal match against either Senegal or Burkina Faso.
After there were no goals in normal time as well as extra time, a penalty shootout ensued with Ogundare, back in the team after an injury-induced absence, emerging the hero of the day.
Both sides lost their first three kicks before it eventually led to sudden death where Ogundare stopped Mali’s final effort to send Nigeria through.
It was a sweet revenge for Nigeria who were stopped by the same team in the semifinal of the U20 AFCON in Niger earlier this year.
Both teams carved out chances in normal and extra times, but they were not clinical enough in front of goal thus leading to the penalty shootout.
Captain Abubakar Ibrahim Babawo, Success Makanjuola and Habibu Yakubu all scored their kicks but Mike Zaruma, Rabiu Mohammed and Emeka Chinonso failed to do so.
Flying Eagles Starting XI: Detan Ogundare – Rabiu Mohammed, Mike Zaruma, Habibu Yakubu, Peter Eletu – Liamed Quadri, Gata Adesina, Abubakar Ibrahim Babawo (captain), Success Makanjuola – Ghali Ahmad, Saeed Jibril