U17 : Nigeria progress to the Knockout stages

U17 : Nigeria progress to the Knockout stages

Holders Nigeria continued their impressive start to their FIFA U-17 World Cup title defence by completing a comprehensive 5-1 victory over hosts Chile and progressing to the knockout stages in the process.

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A goal within 30 seconds by star man Samuel Chukwueze set the tone for a straightforward win, with the diminutive No8 grabbing a second in the second half after he had earlier been fouled for Kelechi Nwakali’s to score from the spot, and before he was felled for Victor Osimhen’s successful spot kick conversion.

Chile grabbed a consolation, before Funsho Bamgboye saw his marching orders, with Osimhen’s late header adding some gloss to the win, despite Nwakali missing his second penalty of the match after Chukwueze had been fouled in the penalty area for a third time.

The African side were remarkably quick out of the blocks, opening the scoring after 22 seconds. Victor Osimhen, fresh from his goal in the opening game against USA, sprinted down the Nigerian left and slid the ball across the Chilean penalty area. The onrushing midfielder slammed home with ease.

He then played a big part in the second Nigeria goal, sprinting onto a long upfield clearance and tapping the ball past the sliding Juan Jose Soriano in the penalty area. The Chilean defender’s challenge brought down the Nigeria No8 and Nwakali doubled his side’s lead.

Chukwueze then grabbed his second of the game thanks to sheer determination on the hour mark. He worked his way into the Chilean penalty area, performed a couple of stepovers and, after seeing an initial shot blocked, slammed a left-footed strike past Lopez.

Chile’s defence will be glad to see the back of the Nigerian No8, as he burst into the Chilean penalty area once more moments later and was felled again, this time by substitute Brian Leiva. For the second spot kick, it was Osimhen who stepped up, and he matched Nwakali’s first effort by firing home.

Substitute Funsho Bamgboye later hit the post before Chile’s consolation came courtesy of Marcelo Allende, who slammed past Akpan Udoh from Luciano Diaz’s cross.

Despite Bamgboye’s late dismissal, for a rash challenge, Nigeria rallied and Osimhen grabbed his third of the tournament in two games. Nwakali then missed his chance to double his own tally for the game from the penalty spot, after Chukwueze had been fouled for a third time.

It did not matter though, as Nigeria join Korea Republic in the last 16, with Chile set to face USA in a pivotal final clash back at the Estadio Sausalito on Friday.

“I told the kids: Nigeria respected us more than the result shows. They took measures to avoid us playing quickly, they knew to wait for us and scored after patient plays, they did not keep us in our goal for the whole game. It is true there were physical differences, especially when it came to speed, but it is also true we were not able to finish off the situations we created. Against a good team, they don’t forgive you,” Miguel Ponce, Chile coach.

“It is true we were effective up front, but we also knew how to block their passing game, forcing them to play uncomfortably in the midfield. My players understood the transition game, that is when to attack, when to defend. We also prepared them mentally, it is not easy to play against the host. Chile has a god team, but today they lost against the best team. I believe they can qualify for the next round,” Emmanuel Amuneke, Nigeria coach.

Source : FIFA