The Nigeria U20 team on Thursday night battled to a 1-1 draw against Ukraine in their final group game of the ongoing FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland.
The Flying Eagles required a victory to be double-sure of their place in the Round of 16, but they were still able to pull through as one of the best losers having recorded a big win against Qatar.
The United States, who beat Qatar 1-0 also on Thursday and finished with six points, got the other automatic slot from Group D.
Ukraine frustrated the Flying Eagles attack for much of the first half before Danylo Sikan headed home from close range in the 30th minute to give the East Europeans a 1-0 lead.
Goalkeeper Andriy Lunin denied Muhamed Tijani’s penalty seconds before half-time, but could not duplicate the feat when Tijani earned another spot-kick in the 47th minute.
After VAR confirmed that Denys Popov handled Tijani’s shot on goal, the Nigerian forward fired past Lunin to ensure the two sides shared the spoils.
Already guaranteed a place in the knockout stage, the result earned the Ukrainians top spot in Group D with seven points.
A superior goal difference means Nigeria will also continue their World Cup expedition, taking four points from three matches and finishing third in the group.