The U-23 Eagles, popularly referred to as the Dream Team has defeated Mali 3-2 in a nervy Group B CAF U-23 Cup of Nations opener.
Junior Ajayi put the Eagles in front in the 16th minute when he back-heeled past the Malian keeper after Taiwo Awoniyi’s initial miss.
The Eagles made it 2-0 on 34 minutes through Usman Mohammed who smashed in a cutback from Seth Sincere.
With one minute into first half added time, Ajayi grabbed his second goal after the Malian keeper spilled Azubuike Okechukwu’s initial shot.
Mali made it 3-1 in the 55th minute after Adama Niane converted from the penalty spot.
In the 65th minute, Souleymane Sissoko scored Mali’s second goal after a mix-up in the Eagles defence.
The Malians went all out for the equalizer but were unlucky on several occasions.
The win sees the Eagles top Group B with three points after Egypt’s draw with Algeria.
Nigeria will take on Egypt in their next game on Wednesday.
The Under-23 African Nations Cup is expected to select Africa’s representatives at next year’s Olympics football competition.