Two second half goals from Salim Fago and Jude Sunday gave Nigeria’s U-20 team, the Flying Eagles, a second victory at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and a ticket to the second round with a game to go in Group D.
Nigeria won their first game. A come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Dominican Republic and a second victory over Italy, who beat Brazil in their first match, means the Flying Eagles are through with a game to spare.
This was a close game and Ladan Bosso’s game plan was to clog the midfield with five players while Salim Fago Lawal plowed the lone furrow as the target man. Bosso made one change to the team that started the first match with Tochukwu Nnadi replaced by AC Milan midfielder Andrew Eletu.
Italy made the early running but could not breach the Abel Ogwuche-led defence while both Daniel Daga and Eletu patrolled the area in front of their central defenders.
Italy hit the crossbar from Cesare Casadei’s effort in the 12th minute as the Italians mounted attack after attack to break down a dogged Flying Eagles defence.
There was a VAR review in the 37th minute when Pafundi’s cross was charged down by Solomon Agbalaka’s right hand but in the action that was reviewed showed Pefundi had handled the ball before producing the cross. Penalty would have been given as explained by the referee Piero Maza Gomez through the Stadium public announcement system but was not given because of Pefundi’s earlier foul.
The second half saw Coach Bosso make two immediate changes. Umeh Emmanuel and Nnadi came on for Samson Lawal and Ibrahim Muhammad and the substitute Nandi created the first goal through perseverance.
Having ghosted into the Italy box to collect a ball from Daniel Bameyi, he held off the challenge of Riccardo Turicchia before finding Fago who produced a wonderful diving header to score his first ever goal for Nigeria and for the Flying Eagles.
READ ALSO: FIFA U-20 World Cup: Nigeria’s Flying Eagles defeat Dominican Republic
As much as Italy tried, they found the Nigeria defence steadfast and Kingsley Aniagboso in good form.
Eight minutes was added on but it was Nigeria who got a second goal with an assist from Aniagboso to Sunday, who beat an Italian defender to the ball and calmly beat Sebastiano Desplanches to seal Nigeria’s passage to the second round.
The Flying Eagles will face Brazil on Saturday at the La Plata Stadium for their last group game.
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