Olusola Elijah

Sudan on Thursday defeated the defending Champions Nigeria by a lone goal at the U23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match played at Al Merriekh Stadium in Omdurman.

The only goal of the encounter was scored on the 45 minutes mark after a counter-attack by the Sudanese team.

The likes of Stephen Odey, Blessing Muyiwa and Taiwo Awoniyi missed Nigeria’s best chances that could have given the Olympics Eagles a vital away win.

The 1996 Olympics men’s football tournament winners now have a mountain to climb as they must overturn a deficit and then look for the winner when both teams clash in the return and final leg of the qualifying series in Asaba on Tuesday.

In the earlier round, Nigeria walloped Libya 4-0 at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba after losing 0-2 in the first leg in Tunisia.

Nigeria won the second edition of the U23 Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Senegal in December 2015, after defeating Algeria in the final.

The return leg will hold in Asaba, Delta State on September 10. Winners over two legs between Nigeria and Sudan will qualify for the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations, scheduled for Egypt from November 8 to 22 this year.