U-20 World Cup: Flying Eagles beat Italy to advance to knockout rounds

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The Flying Eagles of Nigeria on Wednesday soared to the Round of 16 of the 2023 U20 World Cup after they overpowered Italy 2-0 in Mendoza.

They now top Group D with six points from two matches, while Italy dropped to second on three points.

Brazil and the Dominican Republic will do battle later tonight after both teams lost their opening group game.

Salim Fago Lawal opened scoring for Nigeria on the hour when he scored with a diving header off a cross by Emmanuel Umeh.

Jude Sunday doubled Nigeria’s lead in stoppage time when he got to the end of a long thrust by goalkeeper Chijioke Aniagboso, outran his marker before he slotted home.

Both skipper Daniel Bameyi and Sunday came close early in the second half before the go-ahead goal.

Bameyi’s sneaky shot was blocked by the goalkeeper, while Sunday saw his lofted effort headed to safety with the goalkeeper out of position.

Italy enjoyed more of the ball in the first half, but Nigeria were more dangerous going forward and created the more chances.

Jude Sunday fired a low shot in the 27th minute, which missed target not by much.

Four minutes later, Salim Fago was denied by the Italian goalkeeper.

VAR then cleared a penalty against the Flying Eagles in the 36th minute, when Solomon Agbalaka handled the ball inside the box.

An Italian player had also handled the ball earlier in the move leading to the penalty against Nigeria and so the let off.

Goalkeeper Chijioke Aniagboso somehow kept out a stinging shot in first half stoppage time for both teams to go into the dressing room level at 0-0.

Flying Eagles Starting XI vs Italy (4-3-3):

Aniagboso – Agbalaka, Bameyi (Captain), Frederick, Ogwuche – Daga, Eletu (Joshua John 67), Lawal (Nnadi 46) – Jude Sunday, Fago (Sarki 63), Ibrahim Mohammed (Emmanuel Umeh 46)

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