U20 WC Argentina 0 Nigeria 2: Muhammad and Sarki goals send six-time champions packing 

Published: June 01, 2023
U20 WC Argentina 0 Nigeria 2: Muhammad and Sarki goals send six-time champions packing 

Nigeria's 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign continued to soar high as they beat tournament hosts and favorites Argentina 2-0 at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, San Juan late Wednesday night. 


Coach Ladan Bosso made three changes to the side that were beaten 2-0 by Brazil in the last group game with Benjamin Fredrick, Tochukwu Nnadi and Ibrahim Muhammad back in the starting lineup. 


Argentina had more of the possession in the first half of the game but were unable to put away two clear cut scoring chances. 


First, the impressive defensive midfielder Federico Redondo could not generate sufficient power to guide his header from a, corner kick which  Kingsley Aniagboso saved in the 26th minute. 


Alejo Veliz also missed target from close range as he could not steer his header which was eventually dealt with by the Nigerian defence towards the end of the first half. 


In the 50th minute, Argentina's influential midfield prodigyValetin Carboni teed up left back Valetin Barco but Aniagboso did well to save his low cross-shot with his feet for a corner. 


The Flying Eagles launched a counter attack just five minutes after the South Americans' earlier threat but it culminated in a Jude Sunday's speculative long shot which was easily gathered by Federico Gomes Gerth. 


With close to an hour on the clock, Nigeria's Nnadi let fly a powerful shot from long distance that came off the crossbar but Solomon Agbalaka was flagged offside as he attempted to head the ball past a beaten Gomes Gerth. 


Ibrahim Muhammad grabbed the much sought after goal in the 61st minite as he glided past two markers and slotted home after a glorious pass by Umeh Emmanuel. 


Argentina almost got a response immediately but the ball was cleared which led to a counter but Umeh shot was agonizingly wide. 


Carboni's shot soon after that passage of play was parried away for corner by Aniagboso. 


The Argentines seemed the likely side to get a goal in the second half but despite their many forays in attack it was Nigeria that got a second goal with substitute Haliru Sarki heading home a. superb pass from Victor Eletu in added time. 


The referee Glenn Nyberg from Sweden signaled the end of the game after 8 minutes of added time was extended to 11 minutes. 


Argentina defeated Nigeria 2-1 in the final of the same tournament in the Netherlands back in 2005, being the second time Nigeria will emerge as runners up in the history of the U-20 World Cup after Portugal claimed the prize at the expense of Tunde Disu's side in 1989. 


In the quarterfinals, the Flying Eagles will face the winner of the game between Ecuador and South Korea at the Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades, Santiago del Estero on June 4.



Izuchukwu Michael


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