Nigeria’s Flying Eagles, coached by the much vilified Ladan Bosso on Wednesday outclassed Italy 2-0 in their second Group D game at the ongoing 2023 FIFA Under 20 World Cup (U20WC) in Argentina.
Going into the game at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza, both sides won their opening group games; Nigeria, a slender 2-1 win over debutant Dominican Republic and Italy, a more celebrated 3-2 win over Brazil.
Bosso made a solitary change to his lineup from the Dominican game, replacing Bulgaria based Tochukwu Nnadi with AC Milan starlet Victor Eletu.
In spite of the Italians’ early dominance in possession, Bosso’s wards threatened the more going forward and kept the Europeans at arm’s length in their defensive third.
The Flying Eagles however escaped a penalty situation in the 37th minute as Solomon Agbalaka’s handball was not given due to a prior foul by the Italian full back Mattia Zanotti.
FT: Italy 0-2 Nigeria— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) May 24, 2023
Massive win for Ladan Bosso's Flying Eagles and although it has not qualified them for the quarter finals yet, the margin could prove very crucial in the end.#U20WC
Bosso then made two changes at the break, replacing Ibrahim Beji Muhammad with Emmanuel Umeh while Tochukwu Nnadi took the place of Samson Lawal.
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Nigeria would then open scoring just after the hour mark when substitute Umeh forced his way onto the Italian byline before crossing for striker Salim Fago Lawal who scored with a brilliant flying header.
Happy for Salim Fago. He's played like a true arrow head and he took the goal well with his head. Kudos to Emmanuel Umeh for his impeccable composure.— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) May 24, 2023
Effervescent winger Sunday Jude then scored with virtually the last kick of the game, latching onto Flying Eagles goalkeeper Chijioke Aniagboso’s long ball before holding off a strong Italian challenge en route to finishing beyond goalkeeper Sebastiano Desplanches.
Wednesday’s win all but guarantees Nigeria a place in the round of 16 of the 24-nation tournament as it takes the Flying Eagles’ tally to six maximum points from two matches.
The Flying Eagles will wrap up their group stage schedule at the World Cup with a blockbuster clash with Brazil at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in La Plata on Saturday at 7pm Nigerian time.