Nigeria’s Flying Eagles’ hope of winning a record-extending eight continental title started in disappointing fashion after suffering a narrow 1-0 loss to Senegal in their opening Group A match of the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Souleymane Faye scored from a rebound five minutes before the end of the first half to ensure that the Young Lions of Teranga claimed the maximum points to go top of the group ahead of the Nigerian boys.

The Nigeria U-20 side will be particularly disappointed with the result after coming into this tournament on the back of a long unbeaten run, which included a win over Zambia and Congo in the last couple of weeks.

Despite their early dominance, the Eagles failed to convert their chances and allowed the Senegalese to grow into the game.

Alade Adams and Ibrahim Muhammad were both close to opening the score in the encounter but failed to apply the needed finish as both players sent their efforts wide off the target.

They were however punished as the Young Lions took the lead after Faye, who was left unmarked in the danger zone, was the quickest to react as goalkeeper Nathaniel Nwosu pushed an initial shot down with no defender to clear the danger.

The setback affected the Eagles as they struggled to get themselves back into the game and allowed the Senegalese to dictate the tempo of the game but managed to hang on as the referee brought the first half to a close.

Nigeria improved slightly in the second half as they pushed for the equaliser but Senegal’s defence did well to cage the Nigerian attack while trying to hit on the counter attacks.

Libasse Ngom almost made it 2-0 for Senegal when he rounded Nwosu but his eventual shot came off the crossbar as two defenders frantically ran onto the goal line to clear the ball.

Nigeria’s first shot on target came in the 88th minute from a long-range shot fired by Onuche Ogbelu but comfortably saved by Landing Badji.

Things got worse for the Flying Eagles finished as they finished the encounter with 10 men after substitute Ahmed Abdullahi was sent off for a second bookable offence deep into stoppage time.

While Senegal go straight to the top of the table, Nigeria fall to the bottom of Group A with no points.

Earlier in the day, Egypt and Mozambique played a goalless draw, with both teams boasting a point apiece.

Up next for Bosso and his boys is an all-important clash against Egypt.

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