Flying Eagles of Nigeria have secured a spot in the quarterfinal stage of the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup after an impressive 2-0 victory over the host nation, Argentina Thursday night.
Second-half goals from Ibrahim Muhammad and Haliru Sarki saw the Flying Eagles cruising into the last eight in style at the expense of Argentina at the San Juan stadium.
The Coach Ladan Bosso’s side will now face Ecuador or Korea Republic in the quarter-final.
Flying Eagles shock host
The Flying Eagles came into Thursday’s Round of 16 tie as underdogs having finished third in the group stage.
This is in contrast with the Argentines who were group winners with a hundred per cent record from their earlier games.
The game at the Suan Juan stadium took place in a thrilling atmosphere with the home crowd cheering their teams on.
With no room for errors, both teams displayed their determination to advance in the tournament right from the blast of the whistle.
Despite flashes of brilliance and nervy moments at both ends, the first half ended with a deadlock as neither team managed to find the back of the net.
The Flying Eagles defence held firm against the pressure from the Argentinian attack. The Nigerian team showcased their own attacking prowess, mounting pressure on the host country.
As the second half began, Nigeria came out with renewed energy and quickly made an impact. In the 60th minute, Ibrahim Muhammad broke the deadlock by receiving a well-executed through ball and firing it past the Argentinian goalkeeper, Gomes.
The Nigerian fans erupted in celebration as the Flying Eagles took the lead.
Expectedly, Argentina attempted a quick response with a series of onslaughts on Nigeria’s defence.
But while it appeared the single goal will be enough for the Flying Eagles to pull through, Haliru Sarki doubled his team’s lead with an impressive flying header, assisted by Victor Eletu’s accurate cross in stoppage time.
Argentina fought back desperately, creating a few chances to grab an equaliser but the Nigerian defence stood tall, brilliantly clearing the Argentinian attempts.
Romero came close to scoring, but his effort was cleared to a corner, and Carboni’s header missed the target.
In the end, Nigeria held on to their two-goal lead and secured a historic victory over the host nation.
The Nigerian players celebrated joyously, knowing they made history by eliminating the most successful team — Argentina — from the tournament and advancing to the quarterfinals.
Having survived Italy, Brazil and now Argentina, the Flying Eagles can hope to go all the way now as they gun to become just the second African team after Ghana to win the cadet World Cup