Awoniyi, Chukwueze could not save Nigeria from a heavy defeat to Libya away in Tunisia.
Nigeria’s Olympic Eagles lost 0-2 to their Libyan counterparts in their first leg 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations (AFCON) encounter played on Wednesday. March 20.
Nigeria were drawn against Libya in the first qualification series for the tournament.
The team led by Imama Amapakabo were aiming to replicate their achievements of 2016.
Akpakabo called up foreign stars such as Villarrael forward Samuel Chukwueze and Royal Mouscron’s Taiwo Awoniyi with 21 others to prosecute the encounter.
Just six minutes into the encounter Libya took the lead in front of their home supporters in Ben Guerdane, Tunisia.
While the Eagles were trying to find an equaliser Wikki Tourist goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar was sent off just before the halftime break.
Adamu was sent off after he handled the ball outside his area as the Olympic Eagles were behind one goal going into the halftime break.
Kwara United shot-stopper Olawale Oremade came on for Club Brugge forward Dennis Bonaventure as the Olympic Eagles began to battle with 10 players.
Libya doubled their lead in the 69th minute after a sweeping counter attack against the Nigerians who were searching for an equaliser.
The Olympic Eagles could not come back from a two goal deficit as the Libyans go to the second leg with a n advantage.
The Olympic Eagles have a chance to turn the situation around when they host Libya in the second leg on Monday, March 25 at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
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