Nigeria tops the ‘Group of Death’

Edwin  - CEO May 24, 2023
Updated 2023/05/24 at 9:40 PM
3 Min Read
Coach Ladan Bosso's Flying Eagles are soaring high

As Italy’s Gli Azzurrini bites the dust 0-2 in Mendoza


FIFA U20 WC: Nigeria vs Italy - Match preview, H2H, players to watch as Flying Eagles seek QF ticket - Soccernet NG


By Ed Emeanua


Flying Eagles of Nigeria defeated Italy’s Gli Azzurrini 2-0 at the the Malvina Argentinas Stadium, Mendoza in the continuation of the FIFA U-20 World Cup championship in Argentina, Wednesday.


Nigeria’s brace of goals in the second half of the game pushed the Flying Eagles to the summit of Group D where Brazil and the Dominican Republic join to make up the Group of death.


Salim Fago opened the scoring in the 60th minute of the game from a cross in the small area and, with a quick-fix header looped the ball over the heads of helpless Gli Azzurrini defenders with goalkeeper Sebastiano Desplanches horribly displaced.
Before Nigeria’s opener, the Italians had spurned good scoring opportunities as they pressed for the lead. In the 21st minute, Cesare Casadei had received the ball inside the area but his shot exploded against the crossbar.
The Italians continued to dominate the game while the Nigerians relied on counter offensive to keep them in check.
In the 35th minute Simone Pafundi’s cross from the right saw the ball glaringly exploding onto the arm of Nigerian defender Solomon Agbalaka but the referee Piero Maza ruled that an Italian defender initially handled the ball during the build up play to the cross.
Nigeria continued to be hard pressed by the Italian attack line when added pressure forced Benjamin Fredrick into a harsh play in the 41st minute and to be yellow carded by the referee after a foul on Tommaso Baldanzi. It was the first yellow card of the match.
The first half ended scoreless. The second half of the game resumed with the Nigerians sticking with earlier plan that continued to trouble the Italian defense, leading to Nigeria’s first goal of the game in the 60th minute.
In the 94th minute of the game, Jude Sunday sealed it from goalkeeper Chijioke Aniagboso’s long kick-out assist which he allowed to bounce and calmly bury in the net for Flying Eagles’ second goal of the game.
The Flying Eagles has gained the maximum points on offer to top the group, followed by the Gli Azzurrini who beat Brazil 3-2 in their opening game of the championship on Sunday. Brazil, who plays the Dominican Republic on Wednesday evening, could leap frog the Italians to second place should they defeat the Central Americans.
Nigeria next plays Brazil on Sunday while Italy will take on the Dominican Republic same day in the Group of Death’s concluding events.

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