The Golden Eaglets on Tuesday qualified for the semi-finals of the WAFU B U-17 Tournament, thanks to Ivory Coast, who defeated Ghana 3-1 in their final Group B match at the Stade Municipal, Lome, Togo.
Ghana’s loss meant they finished bottom of the group with one point, same as Nigeria, but with inferior goals difference, while Ivory Coast topped the group with maximum six points from two games in the pool that had only three countries.
Five-time world champions Eaglets will play Group A winners Burkina Faso in the semi-finals on Friday, with the Ivoirians taking on Niger for the other spot in the final.
The Ivoirians took the lead against the Ghanaians in the ninth minute through Arafat Doumbia, who then hit his second in the 49th minute to give his side a 2-0 lead.
Ghana drew one back three minutes later, but they were dealt a huge blow after Doumbia scored his hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 68th minute to put Ivory Coast 3-1 ahead and send the Black Starlets crashing out.
The Eaglets had lost 1-0 to Ivory Coast in their opening group game on January 6, before a 1-1 draw with Ghana on Saturday.
Hosts Togo were thrown out of the tournament on Sunday after two of their players failed the mandatory MRI tests conducted by the tournament’s medical team.
With Togo’s results in the tournament annulled, Burkina Faso soared to the top of Group A, and will be battling the Eaglets at the Stade Kegue in the first semi finals from 6pm Nigerian time on Friday. Same night, Group B winners Ivory Coast take on Niger Republic from 9pm Nigerian time.
Winners of the semi-finals will, aside qualifying for the final on January 20, also qualify for the U-17 AFCON in Morocco from March 13 to 31.