Defending champions the Olympic Eagles of Nigeria got off their campaign at the 2019 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations on a dour note following a 1-0 loss to Cote d’Ivoire at the Al Salam Stadium, Cairo, on Saturday evening.
The Olympic Eagles finished the game with 10-men after centre-back Olisa Ndah was sent off for a poor tackle inside the box 20 minutes from time with Silas Gnaka scoring the resultant penalty kick.
The Ivorians dominated the game even though the Olympic Eagles created a number of chances in the second half.
They nearly took the lead in the 16th minute but Abubakar Adamu produced a fine save to keep the score level.
Nigeria coach Imama Amapakabo made two early changes in the first half with Sunday Faleye and Mohammed Sunusi replacing Muyiwa Olabiran and Bright Enokhabare respectively.
Orji Okonkwo came close to scoring for the Olympic Eagles in the 65th minute but his header off a corner kick hit the cross bar.
The Eagles will face Zambia in their next game on Tuesday at the Al Salam Stadium.