Nigeria began their AFCON U-23 double-header qualifier versus Libya with a 2-0 defeat at the Stade de Ben Guerdane on Wednesday evening.
Coach Imama Amakpakabo’s midfield and attack were hugely dominated by foreign-based pros such as the likes of Arsenal’s Kelechi Nwakali, Liverpool’s Taiwo Awoniyi, Villareal’s Samuel Chukwueze and a host of others.
The North African nation took the lead after just seven minutes when striker, Zakaria Alharaish scored to put his team ahead following a quick move which startled the Nigerian players.
Things got worse for Nigeria after goalkeeper, Adamu Abubakar was sent off in the closing stages of the first half for handling outside the area as the defence showed some nervy and uninspiring displays in closing down their pacy opponents.
While Dennis Bonaventure made way in a tactical change after the setback, Orewale Oremade was brought on to mend the goalpost but that did little to stem the flow of the Libyans as they doubled their lead in the second half.
And that was after another quick counter-attack to leave Nigeria with a mountain to climb in the second leg coming up at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on Monday, March 25.