Local supporters witnessed a hard-fought victory at the Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi as Nigeria's Golden Eaglets came from an early goal down to earn an impressive win against their Argentine counterparts...
With Argentina already assured of a place in the next round of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the onus was on Nigeria to build on their victory against Honduras and guarantee their place in the knock-out stages. Honduras and Germany playing simultaneously in Abuja, Friday saw the final matches of Group A, billed by local media as 'The Group of Death'.
In an action-packed opening, the South Americans took a mere two minutes to start the scoring when Esteban Orfano wove through a crowded Nigerian defence to fire deftly past a hapless Dami Paul. Three minutes later however, the hosts defiantly responded as Terry Envoh's corner nicely fell for Omoh Ojabu to stab home from close range, levelling the scores.
Playing at a slower pace induced by the humid Bauchi climate, both sides had chances to increase their lead in the first half, the closest falling to Eaglets substitute Sani Emmanuel, whose rebound shot went agonisingly over the bar from eight yards out.
The results remaining even at half time, the Argentineans seemed content to play for a draw as the second half kicked off with the Eaglets providing most of the attacking impetus. A steady stint of Nigerian pressure finally paid off in the 72nd minute when substitute Lanre Kayode was brought down inside the 18-yard box by Federico Rasmussen. With Nigeria's Stanley Okoro substituted moments earlier following a disappointing performance, Sani Emmanuel stepped up to coolly fire home an almost perfect penalty, sending the local fans into ecstatic celebrations.
With 15 minutes remaining, the Argentineans began to pile on pressure in search of an equaliser, but were unable to penetrate the solid Nigerian defence, the Eaglets holding on to secure a deserved victory. 2-1 was the final score, the result leaving Nigeria on top of group A with 7 points, followed by Argentina with 6. Germany, who recorded an easy 3-1 victory against Honduras, will be left to hope their efforts are enough to secure a slot as one of the four lucky losers to progress to the next rounds.
With more impressive performances from midfielders Abdul Ajagun and Ramon Azeez, as well as striker Sani Emmanuel who plies his trade with Pastor TB Joshua's 'My People FC,' Coach John Obuh can be confident that his boys are waxing stronger as the tournament progresses to the final stages.
SOURCE: Africa News
Originating at www.africanews.com