It took Amadou Sagna just 9.6 seconds to score for Senegal against Tahiti in one of the opening games of the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland. This is the fastest ever FIRST goal in the history of the tournament. Three games were played on an opening day, on Thursday, May 23rd. On Friday, it was Nigeria’s turn to show what they’ve got. They were up against Qatar at the Miejski Stadium in Tychy.
The Flying Eagles are in Group D with Ukraine, USA and Qatar. Coach Paul Aigbogun knew the importance of the opening match, so he fielded the best possible team in a 4-3-1-2 formation. He put Olawale Oremade in goal with Valentine Ozornwafor, Ikouwem Udoh (C), Salawudeen Aliyu and Muhammed Zulkifilu in front of him as a defensive four.
Defensive midfielder Jamil Mohammed would help the defence in front of the two more creative midfielders Kingsley Michael and Tom Dele-Bashiru. Attackers Henry Offia, Effiom Maxwell and Muhammad Tijani completed the starting eleven. Nnamdi Ofoborh was planned to start but the coach changes his mind on game day.
Twelve minutes into the match, Ikouwem Udoh was through on the left to take a shot with the outside of his left foot but the Qatari goalkeeper managed to parry the ball. However, Maxwell was right there to latch onto it and power the ball into the net to open the scoring.
The Flying Eagles had more of the possession and it showed. Twelve minutes after the opener, Udoh was once again through on the left, this time passing the ball to Henry Offia who simply slotted it home to double the lead. The defence has done well in one of the rare instances Qatar was in front of the goal to prevent a goal. Nigeria had a few more chances of their own but it stayed 2:0 at the break.
Nigeria didn’t stop after the restart, still having much more of the ball and creating chances. Offia had a great chance in the 50th minute after he intercepted a pass from a Qatari defender, but the goalkeeper came out on top this time.
After a great through pass from Michael on the left, Tom Dele-Bashiru scored Nigeria’s third goal in the 68th minute striking the ball with the outside of his right foot to put it past the keeper who had no chance. Six minutes later Nigeria took a corner which resulted in a chance for the defender Aliyu who slammed the ball into the back of the net for a final score of 4:0 to Nigeria.
Coach Paul Aigbogun was proud of his team after the match saying that he thought they played well defensively and offensively. It was a clean match with a single yellow card given to Ozornwafor for a handball early in the encounter. He will have to be careful in the next match.
In the other group encounter, Ukraine beat the USA team. Nigeria sit at the top of the group with Ukraine in second place.
The Flying Eagles have only a couple of days to rest and train before their next match against the Americans, scheduled for Monday, May 27that the same Stadium.
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