Defending champions Flying Eagles on Saturday advanced to the semi-final of the Algeria 2013 African U-20 Championship after they defeated DR Congo 3-1 in their last Group B match in Oran.
The result means the Nigerian U-20 side, which placed second in Group B, have qualified for the Turkey 2013 U-20 World Cup. The four semi-finalists in the competition automatically qualify for the World Cup.
Nigeria will play Group A winners Egypt in Tuesday’s semi-final while Ghana, who beat hosts Algeria 2-0 on Friday, will square up with Group B winners, Mali.
The Flying Eagles, who needed a draw to advance, dominated the highly-physical match and they deservedly got the opening goal in the 37th minute through captain Abduljeleel Ajagun’s well-taken penalty kick after a Nigerian was brought down in the DR Congo box.
It was Ajagun’s second goal of the tournament having scored the lone winner against Gabon, also through a penalty kick, on Wednesday.
A minute later, the impressive Aminu Umar, who replaced the suspended Olanrewaju Kayode, added the second, when he slotted home a loose ball inside the box.
The Wikki Tourists forward emerged Nigeria’s hero as he scored the third goal just after the break with an impressive lob over the DR Congo keeper.
DR Congo forward Pembele’s rasping drive inside the box in the 72nd minute made score 3-1 but it was too little too, as the Nigerians booked their ticket to the World Cup in Turkey.
Mali, who lost their last group game 2-0 to Gabon, ended with six points, same as Nigeria, but they topped the group courtesy of the head-to-head rule, having beaten Nigeria 1-0 in their group opener. Gabon had four points while DR Congo had one.