U20 World Cup: Nigeria stun Argentina with remarkable win to secure quarter-final spot
Nigeria delivered a shock to the host nation and tournament favorites, Argentina, with a sensational 2-0 victory on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Goals from Ibrahim Muhammad and Rilwanu Haliru Sarki in the Round of 16 encounter propelled the Flying Eagles into the last eight in a match filled with excitement and suspense.
The game commenced with Nigeria showing early promise, displaying their attacking intent. However, as the first half progressed, La Albiceleste gradually gained control of the proceedings.
Veliz had a couple of half-chances to break the deadlock, with one header narrowly sailing over the crossbar and another flicked effort safely gathered by Nigeria's goalkeeper, Kingsley Aniagboso.
It was in the second half that the Nigerian breakthrough arrived. Emmanuel Umeh delivered a perfectly weighted pass over the top, finding Ibrahim Muhammad, who expertly directed the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Federico Gomes Gerth.
The goal ignited jubilation among the Nigerian contingent, while Argentina intensified their pursuit of an equalizer.
Luka Romero came agonizingly close to leveling the scoreline when his powerful low strike rattled the inside of the post, leaving Nigeria momentarily relieved.
The tension in the stadium reached fever pitch as Argentina pressed forward relentlessly, desperate to keep their tournament dreams alive.
In a dramatic turn of events, Rilwanu Haliru Sarki emerged as the hero for Nigeria in the dying minutes of the match. With time running out, Sarki leapt high to connect with a cross, guiding a perfectly timed header into the back of the net.
The celebration that followed was a testament to the magnitude of Nigeria's achievement.
This remarkable victory propels Nigeria into the quarter-finals, where they will face the winners of the Ecuador-Korea Republic clash in Santiago del Estero on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Africa's representative Tunisia were eleiminated on Wednesday when they were defeated 4-1 by ten-man Brazil.
The Brazilians wasted no time in asserting their dominance, with top scorer Marcos Leonardo converting an early penalty kick,
Leonardo turned provider later, setting up captain Andrey Santos to double their advantage with a well-placed pass.
The match took a dramatic turn before the break when Brazil defender Robert Renan was shown a red card for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Tunisia seized the initiative in the second half, enjoying more possession and launching waves of attacks. However, Brazil's resilient defense held firm.
Tunisia thought they had pulled a goal back through Raki Aouani, but VAR intervention revealed a handball and the goal was disallowed.
In the dying moments, Brazil capitalized on Tunisia's committed forward play, with substitute Matheus Martins and Santos both finding the net on counter-attacks.
Despite a late consolation goal from Tunisia's Mahmoud Ghorbel, it was Brazil who emerged victorious.