Roundup: Nigeria beat Zambia 3-1 to revive hopes for U-23 Africa Cup of Nations semis

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CAIRO, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria revived their semifinal qualification hopes in the ongoing Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations with a 3-1 win on Tuesday over Zambia at Egypt's Al Salam Stadium.

At the same venue, South Africa also managed a vital 1-0 win over Cote d'Ivoire in the same group Tuesday to go top of Group B.

Nigeria returned from behind to grab maximum points and raise their tally to three points, leading Cote d'Ivoire on goal difference, and one shy of group leaders South Africa.

Zambia follow in order with a lone point before the final round of the group games on Friday.

Patson Daka gave Zambia the lead after 12 minutes, ending a brilliant solo effort sending the ball past Adamu Abubakar to give Chipolopolo advantage.

But Zambia's joy was shortly lived when Orji Okwonkwo restored parity just four minutes later, tapping the ball from close range following a corner. The first half ended with sides tied at 1-1.

Nigeria skipper Kelechi Nwakali took the lead for The Olympic Eagles sending a beautiful free-kick that wronged Zambia's goalkeeper Mangani Banda after 65 minutes.

Deep into injury time, Taiwo Awonyi made use of a swift counter attack to add Nigeria's third of the night.

Leaders South Africa face Nigeria at Al Salam Stadium while Zambia takes on Cote d'Ivoire in a simultaneous kick off on Friday at Cairo Stadium.

Meanwhile, South Africa's Teboho Mokoena scored a brilliant curling free-kick to break the deadlock 11 minutes from time to raise his side's tally to four points.

Mokoena could have opened the score in the very same style just two minutes into the game but for a brilliant save from Cote d'Ivoire shot stopper Ira Tape.

"This is a great advantage for us and we hope to continue our way in the tournament. I scored many goals like this before, this is my trademark," Mokoena was quoted as saying by CAF Online, the official website of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

David Notoane, coach of South Africa, said it was a tough game against a good team.

"We missed many chances and that made us a bit nervous, but afterwards we managed to win through a brilliant goal. We won nothing yet and we have to remain focused in our next game."

For his part, Soualiho Haidara, coach of Cote d'Ivoire, the game was tough, noting that his men played well but could not create enough chances.

"I hope we can win our last game and reach the next round," he said. Enditem

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