Nigeria’s Flying Eagles were ousted from the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup at the quarter final stage by the South Korean team which snatched a 1-0 victory in the match played Sunday, at the Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades in Argentina .
The match ended goalless in regulation time. The Korean Republic then popped the winner early in extra time to oust the hopeful and hard fighting Nigerian Eagles.
The match opened like a game of chess, with both sides playing with caution, sizing up each other and exploring for fault lines in the setup of their opponents.
Slowly, the match warmed up and gained gusto and fervor, with displays of more ambitious football. Both sides played well tactically, with Nigeria having a visible advantage, the difference being flair.
The Flying Eagles enjoyed more possession and were the more adventurous, winning five corner kicks to South Korea’s one.
For all their industry, however, the Africans only tested their opponent’s goalkeeper once.
In the second half, the Koreans showed even more resolve and speedy recovery in defence, quickly sealing off breaches where they appeared, frustrating waves of creative attacks by the Flying Eagles.
The Nigerian defence also held firm and well and at full time, neither goalkeeper had been unduly exposed or rattled.
Five minutes into added play, lady luck smiled on the Koreans who won a corner kick which was lobbed high. The ball went in the direction of outfield player, Choi Seok-Hyun who rose high and headed it beyond the reach of the Nigerian goal tender.
Unperturbed, the Flying Eagles stepped on the accelerator, swarming hard on the Korean defence. The Korean defence however held fast with an effective mix of zonal and man marking, yielding no quarter up till the final whistle.
Flying Eagles striker, Emmanuel Umeh was remarkable on the night, twice receiving the ball in strategic position in the dying minutes, then skillfully creating space and coming within sight of goal but was unable to find the back of the net for the equaliser.