Australia recorded their first ever win over Nigeria at the FIFA U17 World Cup level on Friday when the young Socceroos defeated the Golden Eaglets 2-1 at the Estadio Bezerrao, in Brasilia.
The Oceanian side went ahead in this Group B game in the 13th minute when Noah Botic tapped home his third goal of the competition after a good team move which ended in Tristan Hammond squaring for him.
The Australians sized up to their African opponents in equal measure but could not prevent the attack-minded Manu Garba’s wards from levelling matters in the 21st minute through tournament debutant Peter Olawale.
The Delta Warriors forward was accorded time and space to turn before finding the bottom corner after a pass from the lively Akinkunmi Amoo.
Australia were gifted a route back in front in Gama at the start of the second half when Nigerian defender Usman Ibrahim fouled the enterprising Caleb Watts inside the box. Botic once again converted in the 53rd minute for his fourth goal in three matches.
The Nigerians from then on had the most of the ball but could not finish off from the plethora of scoring opportunities they created on the night although huge credit must also go to Australian goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic who foiled a couple of good attempts.
Nigeria, in all had 34 attempts on goal with fourteen (14) of them on target as against their opponent’s eleven attempts at goal.
The defeat regardless, Nigeria finished Group B as leaders after Ecuador’s 3-2 win over Hungary. The Golden Eaglets will return to the Estadio Olimpico in Goiania for their round of 16 game slated for Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
Friday night was the first time in seven attempts that Australia have avoided defeat against Nigeria at the Under 17 World Cup and their four points tally after three games should see them through as one of the four best third place finishers.