A double in either half for the Flying Eagles got Nigeria’s campaign at the FIFA U20 World Cup underway on a winning note as Paul Aigbogun’s man picked up a comfortable 4-0 win over Qatar.
Nigeria were in control of the game from the kick off and despite a few nervy moments at the back, Goalkeeper Wale Oremade showed a lot of composure and determination to shut out the Qatari side.
It was really on the flanks, that the Eagles did manage to dictate the game and launch their attacks, relying on left-back and captain of the side Ikuowem Utin.
And it wasn’t long before he worked out the first goal, setting up Effiom, although the Qatar goalie got a hand on his cross that shot past the face of goal.
The unmarked Maxwell Effiom smashed the ball in in mid-air to give Nigeria the lead inside 12 minutes, and just 12 minutes later the Eagles double their lead, with Utin yet again the provider.
This time a show of strength, skill, and agility saw him beat two markers, dribbled his way inside the box before he cut back a low cross to Okechukwu Offia, who was barely on his feet as he stabbed the ball in the back of the net.
The interval saw a much improved Qatar, they looked better on the ball, stringing passes and actually unlocking the Nigeria defense, but were let down by poor finishing on at least three occasions.
But they would be made to pay, and once again Utin was involved with his threaded pass picking up Tom Dele-Bashiru, who had grown into the game at this point.
A cool control and fine execution in the 68th made amends for Offia’s gifted opportunity to give Nigeria a third goal earlier, but the latter’s poor decision saw a keeper produce a super save.
With Nigeria three goals up, Qatar were running out of ideas and any hope of a comeback.
And in the 74th-minute defender Aliu Salawudeen sealed their victory with a goal that had resulted from a corner kick.
So, four different goalscorers, but a good performance from a few stand out players that eventually picked the team and delivered the first three points of the group stages.
Nigeria will next face USA in the second group D match, on Monday at the Bielsko-Biala Stadium, Bielsko-Biała.
Meanwhile, Ukraine defeated the USA 2-1 in the other group match, but Nigeria stays top of the group with a superior goals difference.
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