Soccer: Nigeria beat Argentina 2-1 in FIFA U-17
Oct 30, 2009: Hosts and defending champions Nigeria finished the first round of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup as leaders of Group A. They secured the position by defeating Argentina 2-1 at the Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi on Friday.
The Golden Eaglets fought back from an early Argentine strike to record a win that ensures that they stay put in Abuja for their round of 16 match on Thursday.
In the other Group A match, Germany came from a goal down to beat Honduras 3-1 at the Abuja National Stadium, with Lennart Thy netting a second-half brace.
Nigeria thus finished with seven points, one ahead of Argentina. Germany are third on four points and will have to wait and see whether they qualify for the knockout stage as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Argentina probably underrated their opponents, resting several of their first-team players, including leading scorer Sergio Araujo and Daniel Villalva for this battle.
However, the South Americans took the lead after just two minutes, when Esteban Orfano drove through a crowded Nigerian defence before firing past Dami Paul from inside the box.
This drew a quick response from the hosts, who levelled only three minutes later. Terry Envoh’s corner was helped on by a flicked header from Stanley Okoro, which fell kindly for Omoh Ojabu to stab home from close range.
Argentina tried to control the game, often slowing down the pace so as to cope with the hot weather in Bauchi.
It was Nigeria who would create the better chances late in the first half as the Argentines appear to tire.
First, in the 35th minute, goalkeeper Ignacio Arce failed to hold Aigbe Oliha’s shot from outside the box, but substitute Sani Emmanuel could not tuck away the rebound from eight yards out.
Two minutes later Ramon Azeez fired a powerful shot that goalkeeper Arce scrambled for a corner.
In the second half, Nigeria took the game to their opponents, who appeared content with a draw.
The pressure finally paid off in the 72nd minute. Substitute Lanre Kayode was brought down inside the 18-yard box by Federico Rasmussen and Emmanuel slotted home Nigeria’s winning goal.
Emmanuel and then Azeez were then denied by the brilliant Argentine goalkeeper as they tried to extend their lead, while the South Americans tried to fight back, but it proved to be too little too late.
Nigeria are therefore kings of Group A, while Argentina will have to be content with role as princes for the time being. ref: Samm Audu, Goal.com