The Flying Eagles have defeated Italy in a highly impressive encounter on matchday two of the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup in Argentina.
Salem Fago and Jude Sunday scored their first goals to help Nigeria beat Italy 2-0 in the Group D matchday two clash at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas on Wednesday evening.
The 20-year-old had been largely ineffective in the 53 minutes he was on the pitch during the Flying Eagles 2-1 win over the Dominican Republic on Sunday night.
But he was the hero as Nigeria booked their ticket to the knockout rounds with their second consecutive match at the tournament.
Daniel Daga had the sight of the goal in the right minute but his low drive went off target.
Nigeria had their first corner in the 15th minute but Salim Fago headed over the bar following a good delivery.
Italy went close in the 21st minute when Pafundi danced past two Nigerian tackles, his low cross found Cesare Casadei who sent a snap shot onto the cross bar. Nigeria cleared the ball afterwards.
Jude Sunday was proving to be the most exciting Nigetian attacker and just before the half-hour mark space opened up a bit for him on the edge of the box but his final shot whistled past the left post.
Shortly after, Agbalaka got at the end of another Nigerian corner but he was only able to head wide.
The Flying Eagles finally worked the Italian goalkeeper after Fago ran unto Abdullahi’s throughball and lashed a fierce drive that the goalie pushed past for a corner.
Agbalaka handled the ball in the box for a potential Italian penalty but VAR came to Nigeria’s rescue as it spotted an earlier Italian handball.
Late in the half, Aniagboso had to be alert to smartly turn a fierce drive from the distance over the post for an Italian corner that came to naught.
The Flying Eagles had done a great job keeping out an Italian team that scored three times in the opening 30 minutes against Brazil on matchday one.
Italy threatened barely seconds into the second half but Nigeria’s defence cleared the ball off the line as it looked to trickle in after a sweet interplay.
Nigeria reacted well and captain Bameyi stung the goalkeeper’s palms with a stinging strike from 25 yards.
A back and forth ensued between the two teams before Nigeria broke the deadlock on the hour mark.
A cross comes to Samson Lawal in the box and after riding a challenge, he showed good quality to pick out Fago unmarked who then headed into the net for the opening goal.