Nigeria have advanced to the final of the 2018 CAF African Nations Championship after beating Sudan 1-0 on Wednesday at Stade de Marrakech.
The Super Eagles shot ahead through an early goal from Okechukwu Gabriel, and held on for the win despite a flurry of chances for the Sudanese.
It was a tricky tie for the Eagles who lost goalkeeper and captain Ikechukwu Ezenwa as early as the 12th minute, but his replacement, Oladele Ajiboye, put in a good shift to keep the slick Sudanese at bay.
The Salisu Yusuf-led side found the back of the net after 16 minutes when Gabriel beat Elhadi Akram from close range with a low shot after racing past the offside trap.
Gabriel, who is having a good tournament, came close to bagging his brace in the 25th minute when his left-footed shot sailed inches wide of Akram’s left corner with Nigeria looking deadly in attack.
The Falcons of Jediane looked good in the dying stages of the first half, bamboozling the Nigerian backline with slick passing and movements but failed to make their dominance pay.
Nigeria picked up the pace at the restart, but lost some steam after midfielder Ifeanyi Ifeanyi was shown his marching orders for a dangerous tackle in the 58th minute.
Coach Zdravko Logarusic’s men couldn’t make the numerical advantage count, and they were eventually reduced to 10 men three minutes from time when Bakri Bachir received a straight red for bringing down Solomon Ojo.
Ajiboye produced two brilliant saves at the death to keep his team in the game and power them to a first ever Chan final where they’ll take on hosts Morocco, 3-1 winners over Libya earlier on Wednesday.