Stirring Eaglets trump Argentina
Posted: 30 October 2009 Time: 15:58
A stirring display saw Nigeria come from behind to beat Argentina 2-1 in their final group match of the FIFA Under 17 World Cup on Friday in Bauchi.
The result means the Golden Eaglets finish as group winners with 7 points, pushing Argentina down to second place.
Argentina, who had already booked passage for the round of 16, made eight changes to their starting eleven while John Obuh kept faith with the team that ground out a 1-0 win over Honduras.
With the influential Sergio Araujo missing, Nigeria were expected to have a less than testing ride, but the young Argies had other ideas, and a racy start saw them in front within the opening two minutes. Esteban Orfano latched onto the ball after a sleek build-up and squeezed a left footer home amidst a sea of legs.
The Bauchi crowd, enjoying their first game of the tournament, were stunned. But not the lads representing them on the pitch, and they took all of three minutes to haul themselves level.
Stanley Okoro's corner kick was flicked on expertly at the near post by Kenneth Omeruo, and Omoh Ojabu edged ahead of his marker to stab home from six yards.
The quick goals appeared to have settled the pace a bit, but the Nigerians were determined to take advantage of the scorching conditions by keeping up a high tempo.
It was not a game plan that the Argentines wanted and they did their best to slow the game as much as possible.
They wre helped when goalscorer Ojabu was clambered by Leandro Marlin, hurting his knee and forcing him off.
His replacement, Emmanuel Sani proved to be even more of a handful and should have put the Eaglets in front, when goalkeeper Damian Martinez spilled Aigbe Oliha's long range missile.
But Sani somehow blasted over from six yard.
Shortly after, the Argentine keeper was at work again when he pushed Ramon Azeez's dangerous snap shot from 30 yards around the post.
Nigeria kept up the tempo in the second half and their reward came when another substitute Kayode Olanrewaju was clattered into in the box by Federico Rassmussen.
The Argentine got a yellow, and Sani got a chance to make amends from the spot. He took the perfect kick to put Nigeria in front.
It was a lead the Nigerian could have added to at least twice more before the referee called time.
But seven points proved enough, and the Bauchi State governor joined the team in a lap of honour around the stadium.
Line Ups Argentina
12 Ignacio ARCE (GK), 2 Leandro GONZALEZ PIREZ, 4 Leandro MARIN, 5 Jorge BALBUENA (C), 13 Nicolas TAGLIAFICO, 14 Federico RASMUSSEN, 15 Esteban ORFANO, 16 Facundo QUIGNON, 18 Gonzalo OLID APAZA, 19 Nello SOSA, 20 Eduardo ROTOND
Subs * 1 Damian MARTINEZ (GK), 21 Jorge PUCHETA (GK), 3 Lucas KRUSPZKY, 6 Esteban ESPINDOLA, 8 Franco BITANCOURT, 9 Daniel VILLALVA, 10 Sebastian GONZALEZ, 11 Sergio ARAUJO, 17 Guido DAL CASON, 7 Adrian CIRIGLIANO
Nigeria 1 Dami PAUL (GK), 2 Aigbe OLIHA, 3 Mohammed ALIYU, 5 Fortune CHUKWUDI (C), 6 Kenneth OMERUO, 8 Stanley OKORO, 9 Abdul AJAGUN, 11 Terry ENVOH, 13 Omoh OJABU, 18 Edafe EGBEDI, 20 Ramon AZEEZ
Subs (GK) Amos IZUCHUKWU 16, (GK) John FELAGHA 21, Ogenyi ONAZI 4, White AGWUOCHA 7, Olarenwaju KAYODE 10, Chukwujike MGBAM 12, Sani EMMANUEL 14, Yusuf OTUBANJO 15, Obinna OKORO 17, Deji JOEL 19
The players are out of the tunnel and on the turf, and the pre-match formalities are taking place. Argentina look to have made wholesale changes to their starting team. Actually, they have made EIGHT changes to the side which beat Germany last time out. Of interest to Nigerians will be the fact that Sergio Araujo is on he bench today. Match formalities are over and we should be underway in a bit. John Obuh has kept the same team that beat Honduras 1-0
1 min Nigeria take the kickoff and away we go. Its the Golden Eaglest who are raiding Argentina early on, but its well defended.
2 min GOAL! Argentina 1-0 Nigeria Those changes didnt seem to have helped much. Esteban Orfano is picks up the ball on the edge of the Nigeria area and squeezes in a shot past a sea of legs and beyond Dami Paul to silence the home support.
5 min GOAL! Argentina 1-1 Nigeria That didnt take long did it? The Argentina defence are caught ball-watching as a corner kick comes in and Omoh Ojabu stabs home from close range. Its game on.
13 min Good break for Argentina down the left channel, Oliha is brushed off the ball and Dami has to come out and clear the ball for a corner kick, which is eventually well defended and almost leads to a lightning quick break. 15 min Skipper Fortune Chukwudi sends a long punt for Okoro to chase, but Argentina keeper Arce is quick off his line to claim the ball.
20 min Its all very high tempo despite what appears to be scorching conditions in Bauchi. Good chance for the Eaglets is wasted by Okoro's poor control inside the box. A better touch, and that would have been 2-1
25 min Envoh chases goalscorer Orfano down the right channel and gives away a freekick. But it is poorly taken and it is as you were. 28 min Goalscorer Omoh Ojabu is down after a challenge by Marin. Unfortunately, he cant continue and will have to be replaced. 31 min Emmanuel Sani comes on for Ojabu. Obuh will not be particularly pleased about that forced substitution. Its the first taste of tournament action for Sani
33 min Great cross from the left, but Okoro is crowded out by the Argentina defence, who give away the corner. From the resultant kick. Abdul Ajagun gets climbed all over by Sosa and looks in serious pain. He is helped off the pitch.Do the Argentines have something against the Dolphins players. First Ojabu and now Ajagun
35 min Its all Nigeria now. And Sani almost gives Nigeria a second goal. Argentina struggle desperatelt to clear their lines under pressure and Arce spills a ferocious long distance effort from Oliha. Sani arrives in time but his attempt to hit it over the keeper grazes the goalie's fingertips. That should be a corner, but the ref awards a goalkick.
38 min There is just no let up for the Argies. This time its Ramon Azeez who lets fly from distance and only a desperate dive, and another fingertip effort stops the ball arrowing in. This time, the ref does award a corner. He neednt have bothered. Itsawfully wasted.
40 min Stanley Okoro does some fancy footwork down the right hand side, but goes to ground a bit too easily. The ref doesnt even bother to dignify his attempt with a play-on gesture. One thing I can say for the Eaglets today though, is that they have defended set pieces and corner kicks pretty decently.
45 min The Nigerians have forced a high tempo all through this half and they do it again on the break after snuffing out an Argentina attack down the left. Azeez's low cross is cut out for a corner kick. Again, nothing comes out of that. HALF TIME: Argentina 1-1 Nigeria And the whistle goes for the half time break after a very entertaining first half I must say.
The Argies walked off after the first half looking slightly gassed. It will be interesting to see how they approach the second half, as they spent most of the first trying to slow things down and hitting Nigeria on the counter-attack. SECOND HALF 46 min We are underway again. In the other game, Honduras have taken a surprise lead against Germany! That takes Honduras above Germany in the standings and leaves the European champions on the brink of elimination
52 min Nigeria right back Oliha has taken a knock of his own and looks dazed. Obuh warming up a replacement and probably hoping he wont need to make another forced sub.
55 min Germany haul themselves right back in it. Lennart Thy leads the recovery for the Germans. 56 min And he's only gone and made it two to Germany, Thy. So the Germans have turned it around and Nigeria will have to keep the result as it is to guarantee progress, or win to top the group.
60 min Lovely piece of combination play form Nigeria to get into the Argentina box but Rassmussen quickly clears the ball out for a throw-in. The Eaglets again, show their hopelessness at set pieces.
Dal Carson in for Sosa
67 min Ramon Azeez is the latest player to go down in pain. He will stay on though, and it will be Edafe Egbedi who will make way for Kayode Olanrewaju 70 min Good call by Obuh. The ineffective Stanley Okoro is hauled off and kayode comes on. PENALTY All that pressure wasbound to yield something. Oliha bursts into the box and is clipped by Federico Rassmussen. Penalty for Nigeria and a booking for Rassmussen. 72 min GOAL Argentina 1-2 Nigeria With Okoro off, it is Sani Emmanuel to take it. The substitute takes as good a penalty kick as you are ever likely to see at any level, sending Arce the wrong way to put Nigeria in front, and on top of the group.
73 min Germany are not to be outdone, and Vollan has just put them out of sight against Honduras. Its Germany 3-1 Honduras. That will count for nothing if Nigeria win or draw here. But it should put them in good stead to go through as one of the best third placed finishers.
76 min Azeez shoots wide from distance 79 min Villalva, who has only just come on, picks up teh game's first yellow card.
86 min Nigeria really finishing strongly. sani Emmanuel breaks into the Argentina box and Rassmussen's tackles had to be good, otherwise he would have been off. It was, and all he gave away was a corner kick. And then its Ajagun's turn to try to catch Arce off his line. He came close, but it dipped too late.
88 min What a save. Emmanuel latches onto a long ball, lifts the ball over a defender and then lets fly, but Arce gets a hand to it and its a corner. The Argies cant rest. As the cornerkick is half cleared away, Azeez unleashes another effort. Again, the keeper comes up with a great save.
89 min It wont stop will it? another sizzler from long range, and this one just drifts wide. Edafe fianlly goes off and White Agwuocha come in.
90 min Argentina are fighting back and they win a corner kick, but its well defended, and the Eaglets come away with it. Another yellow card, this time to Argentina's Rotondi
FULL TIME And there goes the final whistle. Nigeria win 2-1 and finish as group winners with 7 points. So they will stay in Abuja. Argentina are second, and will have to move. Germany, who won 3-1 against Honduras, have to wait on results from other groups. Now, that was a performance and the Bauchi fans show their appreciation for the team by cheering them non-stop.
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