Nigeria began the defence of their AFCON U-23 title with a shocking 2-0 defeat in the hands of Libya at the Stade de Ben Guerdane yesterday evening.
Coach Imama Amakpakabo’s midfield and attack were hugely dominated by foreign-based pros with the likes of Kelechi Nwakali, Taiwo Awoniyi, Samuel Chukwueze and a host of others on parade.
The North Africans took the lead after just seven minutes when striker, Zakaria Alharaish scored to put his team ahead following a quick move which startled the Dream Team.
Things got worse for Nigeria after goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar was dismissed in the closing stages of the first half for handling outside the area as the Nigeria defence showed some nervy and uninspiring displays while attempting to close down their pacy opponents.
While Dennis Bonaventure made way in a tactical change after the set back, Orewale Oremade was brought on to mind the goal but that did little to stem the flow of the Libyans as they doubled their lead in the second half after another quick breakaway to leave Nigeria with a mountain to climb in the return fixture.
Nigeria will battle the North Africans in the reverse tie at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on March 25.