The Junior Pharaohs of Egypt have suffered a 1-0 loss to the Flying Eagles of Nigeria in their Group A encounter at the Africa Under-20 Nations Cup Group (AFCON).
A bullet header by the Nigerian side secured the needed victory in the first point of the championship over the host team in the second group match between the two winless sides.
Agbalaka delivered the telling blow on 71 minutes when he rose highest to plant Mohammed Aminu’s header into the roof of the net.
The Young Pharaohs created numerous chances to go in front, but they lacked the cutting edge to convert the opportunities.
The hosts were held to a goalless draw by Mozambique in the tournament opener and now sit in third place with a solitary point ahead of Saturday’s must-win match against high-flying Senegal.
Mahmoud Gaber’s team started on the front at Cairo International with the support from their home faithful. Rafaat Khalid was a bright spark for the Egyptians down the left channel in the early exchanges of the Group A clash.
The speedy winger flashed a shot over the Flying Eagles goal inside 13 minutes before striker Bilal Abdelraham Zeeni headed over the post for the hosts.
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Nigeria weathered the early Pharaoh’s storm at the lively Cairo International Stadium and came close after the half hour mark through Ibrahim Muhammad fierce effort.
Rafaat Khalid found space on the right flank cutting into the box before firing over Chijioke Aniagboso’s goal.
The second half was more open as both sides pushed more men forward to try and get the breakthrough.
Nigeria battled hard to recover the second ball as they imposed their game with Egypt playing on the fast transition.
Chijioke Aniagboso pulled a big save to deny Bilal Abdelraham Zeeni from giving the Pharaohs the lead on 62 minutes with a low one handed block.
The young keeper was again called to action to deny Bilal Abdelraham for the second time when he made himself big in front of the attacker who couldn’t dink the ball over his head.
The Flying Eagles stunned the Cairo International Stadium with a spectacular Solomon Agbalaka header to beat Mostafa Makhlouf in the Egyptian goal.
Solomon ran into Muhammad Aminu’s inswing corner to guide his header to the far post leaving the young Egyptian keeper Makhlouf with no chance.
The hosts pushed more players forward in search of the equaliser but the Flying Eagles held on to secure their first points of the tournament while Egypt rue their missed chances.
In the second group match between the two winless sides, Solomon Agbalaka’s bullet header was enough to seal a victory that gave Nigeria its first points of the championship.