A game of few chances saw South Korea emerge victorious over Nigeria courtesy of a header from Choi Seok-Hyun five minutes into the first half of extra time.
It was South Korea’s first and only shot on target in the third time Nigeria has lost out in the quarterfinal in extra time—2007, 2011, and 2023.
Coach Ladan Bosso sent out 10 of the 11 players that started against Argentina. Samson Lawal gave way to Victor Eletu.
The Flying Eagles had more than 70% of the ball possession in the first 10 minutes, and their first goal attempt came from Jude Sunday in the fifth minute, a tame overhead kick that was off target.
Nigeria won two successive corner kicks in the sixth minute, and Abel Ogwuche almost scored the opener, inexplicably, in the eighth minute after a corner kick dropped in the box and hit his body. It was goalbound but an easy catch for South Korea goalkeeper Kim Joon-Hong.
Ogwuche and Solomon Agbalaka collided mid-air in the 27th and needed treatment on the pitch. There was a lack of communication between the left-back and the centre-back.
Eletu almost produced the moment of the half in the 29th minute when he wriggled from the attentions of three South Korean players, and his shot needed saving. Salim Fago headed another corner kick wide as the South Koreans grew into the game.
A misplaced pass from Daniel Daga led to the South Korean’s first corner kick, and Kingsley Aniagboso made his first save to end the half. The Nigerians had 47% of ball possession to South Korea’s 32%, though they covered 52km to Nigeria’s 50.
The second half was a replica of the first, with the Nigerians having more of the ball. Captain Daniel Bameyi had a shot on target on 49 minutes. Lee Young-Jun hammered a South Korean chance over the bar on the hour.
Coach Bosso pulled out Salim Lawal and Ibrahim Muhammad in the 62nd minute and sent on Umeh Emmanuel, and Kehinde Ibrahim came on.
The game dragged into extra time, and Seok-Hyun stole ahead of Benjamin Fredrick to score the match’s only goal.
Coach Bosso, in his post-match interview, lamented his team’s missed chances while stating that the Koreans had only one chance from which they scored. He also revealed that the match was about the easiest of the four they played in Argentina.