AFCON U-23: How Côte d'Ivoire Beat 10-Man Nigeria (Video)
Nigeria lost by a lone goal (Photo/NFF-Twitter)

Head coach of the Nigeria U-23 team, Imama Amapakabo says ‘first games are usually tough’, hence the loss to Côte d’Ivoire at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) U-23 in Egypt.

Concise News reports that Silas Gnaka scored from the spot as holders Nigeria succumbed to a 1-0 defeat as Group B action kicked off at Al Salam Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

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Speaking after the tight match, Amapakabo insists his boys “still have a lot to play for”.

“It was a difficult match for both teams. I said before all the teams here want to win this tournament. First games are usually tough. We lost today but we still have a lot to play for. Football is about small details and that’s what made difference today.”

Gnaka’s goal after 68 minutes proved to be the game’s winner shortly after Nigeria were reduced to ten men from the previous foul by Olisa Ndah who received his marching orders.

Meanwhile, Amapakabo’s opposite number, Soualiho Haidara feels his team deserve the victory.

“It was very important for us to win today. Nigeria is a strong and respectable team. I thank my players for their efforts and we will continue to fight. I think our team deserves victory today.”

For Man-Of-The-Match, Koffi Edgard Dakoi, he has this to say: “I’m very happy that we won today. It was a tough game against the holders but we proved our strength. We will continue to work hard.”

Nigeria next face Zambia on Tuesday.