Kaduna based team, Ace Academy for the second time have held the Golden Eagles to a 1-1 draw at the NFF/FIFA Goal Project Pitch in Abuja.
Having met thrice, the Eaglets won by a lone goal in their first meeting courtesy of lone strike by Promise Orji but the last two meeting has been a tough one for both sides, the Kaduna based side have shared the spoils with an identical 1-1 score line in their last two matches with the Golden Eaglets.
This time Kelechi Nwakali gave the Golden Eaglets a first half lead only for Taiye Balogun to fetch Ace Academy a much-needed extra time equalizer.
Murtala Muhammed, the hard working General manager of Ace Academy,said he was impressed with the Golden Eaglets despite recording another draw.
“This is the third time we are playing Eaglets but I think this was our best and we really wanted to win this particular match. But the result notwithstanding, I really want to thank the coaching crew of the Golden Eaglets for given us the opportunity and we want to wish them the best in Niger.”Murtala Muhammed said graciously.
Ace dominated the first quarter but went behind in the 22nd minute when Golden Eaglets’ Samuel Chukwueze’s shot hit an opposing defender in the periphery of the box; and the resultant free kick was converted by Kelechi Nwakali.
Ace nearly got the equaliser in the 26th minute through gifted Hassan Usman but his shot went delicately over the bar. Goalkeeper Akpan Udoh came to the rescue of the Golden Eaglets again in the 44th minute when he stopped Onyeka in a one-on-one situation to end the first half.
In the second half, it was a ding-dong affair with little separating the two sides. But in the 66th minute, Mbuotidem Anietie dribbled his way into the Ace box but saw his lively shot wide. Coach Amuneke then brought in striker Victor Osimhen for Ebere Osinachi to add pep to the Eaglets attack against the resilient Ace defence.
The game was going on forever and Ace finally got their equalizer in added time when Taiye Balogun fired a volley behind Udoh who had virtually been on holidays.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eaglets will depart Abuja for Sokoto Wednesday to step up their preparations for next month’s African U-17 Championship in neighbouring Niger.
AfricanFootball.com learnt that Sokoto was chosen for the Eaglets to finalise their training for the tournament because it enjoys similar hot and dry weather like Niamey, where the African championship will be staged from February 15.
The Eaglets are drawn in Group A along with host nation Niger, Zambia and Guinea.Their opening match is on February 15 against the host team.
The top four teams from this competition will represent Africa at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile in November.