The Flying Eagles of Nigeria have successfully booked their spot in the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup after an impressive 2-0 triumph over the host nation and tournament favorites, Argentina.
Buoyed by a raucous home crowd, Javier Mascherano’s Argentine side completely dominated the Flying Eagles during the first half, controlling the game’s tempo and exhibiting their authority on the pitch. However, the young Nigerians chose to employ a tactical approach, frustrating the overeager hosts while maintaining their focus on launching swift counterattacks.
Following a goalless first half, the Flying Eagles unleashed their offensive prowess upon Argentina in the second half. Head coach Ladan Bosso made two inspired substitutions shortly after the break, introducing Emmanuel Umeh and Haliru Sarki into the game.
Almost instantaneously, the Flying Eagles of Nigeria displayed a newfound attacking potency, as evidenced by Nnadi’s impressive strike that unfortunately struck the crossbar, saving Argentina from conceding a goal.
In a pivotal moment during the 60th minute, the Flying Eagles silenced the San Juan Stadium when Ibrahim Muhammad broke the deadlock, scoring the opening goal. Umeh played a crucial role by intelligently lofting a pass that allowed Muhammad to infiltrate the opposition’s defense and calmly slot the ball past the goalkeeper.
Eager to retaliate, Argentina relentlessly pressed forward, but the Flying Eagles defense remained resolute and organized, expertly marshaled by Benjamin Fredrick, Abel Ogwuche, and Daniel Daga. Umeh, who provided the assist for the first goal, came agonizingly close to scoring a second for Nigeria. However, his shot narrowly missed the target during a swift counterattack.
Despite continuous threats from Argentina, with Carbone squandering several scoring opportunities, Nigeria’s defense held firm, demonstrating unwavering determination. Argentina came perilously close to equalizing on multiple occasions, hitting the post and having a chance cleared off the goal line. Yet, in the dying moments of regulation time, it was the Flying Eagles who struck again, extending their lead.
Flying Eagles youngster, Victor Eletu from AC Milan engaged in a fierce duel with an Argentine defender and delivered a delightful cross, allowing Sarki to confidently head the ball into the net, effectively doubling Nigeria’s advantage and propelling the team into the quarterfinals to face either Ecuador or South Korea.