FIFA U-20 World Cup: Flying Eagles Shake off Dominican Republic; Tackle Italy Wednesday
The Junior National Team, Flying Eagles of Nigeria, rolled into an enthralling start at the ongoing 2023 U20 FIFA World Cup, when they thrashed the Dominican Republic, 2-1, in their opening game.
The Nigerian U20 team came from one goal down in the highly anticipated game which took place at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza, Argentina, on Sunday, to snatch victory with the maximum three points in their kitty.
This is the first time the Dominican Republic is featuring at the FIFA World Cup.
Though the Ladan Bosso-led boys dominated the game, with Jude Sunday and Ibrahim Lawal proving to be a handful for the Dominican Republican defence, they failed to exploit begging opportunities that would have given them a higher goal tally.
The Republicans’ goalie, Xavier Valdez, was a huge stumbling block for the Flying Eagles, especially in the early stage of the match during which he stopped two goal-bound efforts to the amazement of the Nigerians.
They would later shock the Flyting Eagles with a well taken penalty kick resulting from a rough tackle by Benjamin Fredrick who stumped on the foot of Gomez de la Cruz inside the Nigerian goal area. Edison Azcona sent Chijioke Aniagboso the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
But the Nigerians were not deterred by the goal which came against the run of play, as they reorganized and launched blistering attacks on the debutants.
The Flying Eagles were rewarded about seven minutes later when a long throw by Daniel Bameyi in the Republican goal area brought goalkeeper Valdez off his line and his teammate, Guillermo Rosario, who got to the ball first, headed the ball into his own net.
The goal spurred Nigeria to intensify pressure upon their opponents with Sunday coming close to scoring twice.
The Nigerians finally got the clincher in the 70th minute through a defensive error by the Republican defence, giving Samson Lawal a brilliant chance to put the ball beyond the on-rushing goalkeeper Valdez. The ball sailed into the net to give Nigeria victory.
With Sunday’s victory, the Flying Eagles top the group and will go with that confidence into their second game against Italy on Wednesday; and Brazil in their final group match next Saturday.