“We hope to win in Tanzania so that the second leg in Nigeria will be a mere formality,” the Eagles coach Manu Garba said on Sunday.
Garba was commenting on the Flying Eagles’ 1-0 loss to Benin in a warm up game in Cotonou. The match was meant to be used as a preparatory tie for the team’s AYC qualifier against Ngorongoro Heroes.
“We will put this loss behind us and shift our attention to the match in Tanzania this coming weekend,” Garba said.
It was the first time the Flying Eagles’ “class of 2015” would be losing a game and Garba blamed the team’s poor first half for the reverse.
“We had a poor first half, but in the second half, we controlled the game. We had a much, much better second half,” the coach said.
He added that the hosts used unconventional methods to see out the game on Sunday. “The home team used delay tactics after they scored.
The referee ought to have given the goalkeeper at least a yellow card for time wasting, but he did not. Captain Seibou Mama, scored the winner on 48 minutes. Remarkably, it was the only shot at target by the home team.
After Benin’s goal, the young Nigerians laid siege on the goal area of their hosts but found goalkeeper Sheyi Damilola in inspired form.
The former Bolowotan FC of Lagos shot stopper made a double save after 55 minutes after Taiwo Awoniyi saw his shot crash against the post.
Wilfred Ndidi and substitute Kelechi Iheanacho also had openings to draw the Flying Eagles level but Damilola was exemplary.
The Flying Eagles started the first half on the front foot with Alhassan Ibrahim aka Mu-azam first to shoot at goal after two minutes, but his shot screamed across the face of goal.
Ngorongoro Heroes booked a date with the Flying Eagles after eliminating Kenya 4-3 on post-match penalties. The winner of the double header tie will qualify for the 2015 AYC finals in Senegal.