Nigeria Wednesday beat hosts Senegal 1-0 to reach the final of the CAF under-23 Africa Cup of Nations, and also cemented their participation at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Oghenkaro Etebo scored from the spot to break the hearts of the Senegalese and the home crowd who were expectant of a victory. But the introduction of Victor Osimhen turned the match on its head, this was after goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel made several crucial saves to keep Nigeria in the game.
In the first half the Senegalese had the Eagles on the ropes, but failed to deliver a knock out punch. Daniel denied Ismaila Sarr with an outstretched foot after the Senegalese midfielder out paced the Nigeria defence from the right. Within minutes, Daniel saved from efforts by Ibrahima Keita and Modou Diagne.
The moment of the half came when Daniel was judged to have foul Cheickou Dieng, but Daniel once again stopped the shot from the spot by Keita.
In the second half coach Samson Siasia introduced FIFA under-17 goal king Osimhen. His runs on the defence caused anxious moments for the hosts and in the 75th minute under pressure from Osimhen, Senegal defender Ousseynou Thioune collided with his goalkeeper Pape Ndiaye and in the process, a falling Thioune handled the ball. He was given the marching orders by the referee.
Etebo stepped up to do what Keita was unable to do earlier and net an emphatic effort that Ndiaye had little chance of saving.
The 10 men of Senegal pushed for the equaliser that would have taken the game to penalties but even with five minutes of injury time, they were unable to breakdown the stubborn Nigerian defence.