Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles have qualified for the finals of the ongoing African Nations Championship (CHAN), their first ever, after defeating Sudan 1-0 in the semi-final played in Marrakech.
As early as the 12th minute, the Super Eagles goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa sustained an injury, forcing him to be replaced by Oladele Ajiboye.
Three minutes later, Sudan had a glorious opportunity to grab the lead in the 15th minute, but Ajiboye was quick to read the danger.
However, it was Nigeria who found the back of the net a minute later when Gabriel beat Elhadi Akram from close range with a low shot.
In the 25th minute, Gabriel came close to bagging his brace when his left-footed shot sailed inches wide of Akram’s left corner.
Despite good moves and dominance by the Falcons of Jediane in the dying stages, it was 1-0 at halftime for Salisu Yusuf’s men.
Meanwhile, Nigeria looked threatening in the second half, but Ifeanyi Ifeanyi was shown the red in the 58th minute after a dangerous tackle.
Coach Zdravko Logarusic’s men would take advantage of the situation and Osman Ismaeil saw his powerful shot going wide, with Ajiboye becoming a spectator.
The Sudanese were also reduced to 10 men at about three minutes to go when Bakri Bachir received a straight red for bringing down Solomon Ojo.
Nigeria’s Ajiboye kept his team in the game after producing two brilliant saves in the 90th minute to ensure they are through to the final.
The Nigerians will on Sunday meet hosts Morocco, who earlier spanked Libya 3-1.