The Flying Eagles reached the second round of the Fifa World Youth Championships by defeating the Asians in Istanbul on ThursdayNigeria reached the second round of the Fifa Under 20 World Cup in Turkey courtesy of a lone goal defeat of Korea Republic in Istanbul on Thursday at the Ali Sami Yen Arena on Thursday.
Olarenwaju was the hero of the day as his lone strike was enough to fetch his side the maximum points that confirmed their place in knock out phase of the competition.
Coach John Obuh made a few changes from the side that spanked Cuba 3-0 in the second group game, while for Korea, Woo Jusung was dropped for Yeon Jeimin .
The Nigerians, knowing what is at stake, made an electric start to the game, and Babatunde Michael fired an early warning in the second minute with his power packed shot missing the target.
Few minutes later, Kayode Olarenwaju forced a save from the Korean net minder, Lee Changgeun after a beautiful exchange of passes from Salisu Gero and captain fantastic, Abdul Ajagun.
Nigeria took the lead after the ninth minute courtesy of Kayode’s well taken header off Abdul Ajagun’s freekick from the left side of the Koreans’ rear. The East Asians’ tried to launch a comeback but Abdullahi Shehu and Ikechukwu Okorie were solid in the midfield and thwarted Kang Sangwoo’s attempts to get the much needed equalizer.
Onyinye Ndidi could have gotten the second goal for the Flying Eagles five minutes later but his header was off target. All through the first half, the Flying Eagles were the better side and gave the Koreans no breathing space.
However, as the first half neared its’ end, Korean Republic began to wrest themselves back onto a more even footing, and caused a few tense moments in the Nigeria ranks when working the ball into the box.
On restart, Song Juhun marshaled the Koreans forward line but couldn’t get past the Nigerian defence anchored by Onyinye Ndidi and Kinglsley Madu. But despite their dominance in the early stages of the second half, their backline looked shaky as Kayode would find his way between Yeon Jeimin and Kim Sunwoo but would fail to convert resulting chances.
Nigeria lost many chances to increase the goal tally but would be satisfied with their efforts to hold on to their lead that place them runners –up in Group B. The West Africans will face the runners up from Group F in Istanbul on July 2.