… Pedroso and Marquinhos goals end Flying Eagles unbeaten run.
Nigeria’s Flying Eagles on Saturday night finished in third place in Group D of the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina following a 2-0 defeat to five-time champions Brazil in their last group game at the Estadio Único Diego Armando Maradona, La Plata.
The coach Ladan Bosso boys who had beaten Dominican Republic 2-1 and Italy 2-0 in their previous games became one of the four best losers in the group stages with Italy claiming second spot with a 3-0 win over debutant, Dominican Republic.
Remarkably, Brazil, Italy and Nigeria all finished on six points each, but the South Americans won the Group D courtesy of superiors goals difference.
Italy finished runners-up after they stopped the Dominican Republic 3-0 in the earlier game in the group.
Right back Austin Njoku came into the starting lineup for the first time in the tournament as Benjamin Fredrick was rested by coach Ladan Bosso, All Nigeria Soccer reports.
Jude Sunday’s early shot in the game saw the ball cone off the crossbar from an Umeh Emmanuel cross.
Brazil’s adventurous forward, Savio, attempted to break the duck shortly after Sunday’s effort just few seconds but his shot narrowly went wide for a Nigerian goalkick.
Samson Lawal wriggled his way past two Brazilian markers before hitting a shot that was gathered by the Brazilian goalkeeper.
In the 31st minute Marcos Leonardo missed a gilt-edged chance for a Brazil from close range after a pinpoint delivery by Arsenal winger, Marquinhos, but he misfired from an Ogwuche pressure.
With five minutes before the break, Savio fell rather cheaply under the challenge of Abel Ogwuche but there was no VAR penalty decision in favour of the South Americans.
Brazil however went ahead in the 43rd minute through Jean Pedroso who leapt high to get past Daniel Bameyi from a corner kick.
Brazil continued their incursion deep into the Nigerian territory and a late counter led to Brazil’s second goal as Marquinhos’ low finish went past through the legs of Kingsley Aniagboso in goal for Nigeria in added time of first half.
Ogwuche was given a yellow card two minutes into the second half and a free kick awarded to the Brazilians at the edge of the penalty area. Marcos Leonard’s kick greased the side net.
Aniagboso saved from Savio in the 57th minute from close range as the Samba boys continued to aspiring.
The goalkeeper was on hand to keep away Brazil’s 13th shot on goal soon afterwards before a timely clearance by Bameyi.
A Triple change by Bosso brought urgency in the Nigerian approach as Haliru Sarki struck the crossbar and the ball eventually flew out for a corner kick after Mycael in goal for Brazil tipped it over.
Second half substitute Kehinde Ibrahim won a free kick for Nigeria near the Brazil area but Tochukwu Nnadi’s pass for Njoku eluded the latter as the Africans failed to secure a consolation goal.
Brazil deserved their victory as they exploited the tactical indiscipline of their Nigerian counterparts with skipper Daniel Bameyi, back in central defence for the rested Benjamin Frederick, culpable for both goals against the Flying Eagles.
Before Saturday night’s loss, the Flying Eagles have suffered at the hands of Brazil in this competition’s previous editions.
They lost 3-0 at the 1983 edition in Mexico, 2-0 in 1985 and 4-0 at the 1987 tournament.
Next Nigeria will face either the United States of America or hosts Argentina in the Round of 16.