Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets thrice came back from behind to level 3-3 with Sweden in a thrilling FIFA Under-17 World Cup game in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates Tuesday.
After winning their first game against defending champions, Mexico, 6-1 last Saturday, the Eaglets were expected to make mince meat of the boys from Sweden but such prediction turned out not to be real.
Nigeria however remained in the driver seat of Group F with same four points as Sweden but with a +5 goals difference. Mexico trails in the third position with three points, leaving Iraq with no point at the bottom of the group.
The game was keenly contested in the first half, with Nigeria’s Chidera Eze and Abdulahi Alfa combining beautifully with Akinjide Idowu.
But it was the Swedes that shot into the lead through Valmin Berisha in the 11th minute, when he jabbed in Rakip header. Eaglets’ keeper, Dele Alampasu, was off his line after fumbling an aerial ball to allow the cheeky curtain raiser.
Nigeria went close instantly with left back Samuel Okon’s long-range effort in the 12th minute deflected for a corner kick.
Berisha completed a brace in the 19th minute with a header after he was set up from the left flank.
Three minutes later, Isaac Success scored with a superb volley when he connected Kelechi Iheanacho’s long pass into the box.
Alampasu however made up for his earlier slip with good save in the 31st minute to deny Sweden another goal.
Success was forced to leave the pitch in the 32nd minute for what looks like a hamstring injury and was replaced by Taiwo Awoniyi.
Okon almost made it 2-2 for Nigeria when his 30-yard chip was tipped over the bar for a corner kick.
Yahaya Musa equalised for Nigeria with a hopeful 25-yard shot which was fumbled by the Sweden goalkeeper to take the tally to 2-2 in the 48th minute.
First-half substitute Halvandzic then restored Sweden lead in the 65th minute when he tapped in from close range.
Sweden keeper make a double save in the 71st minute from the efforts of Yahaya Musa and Taiwo Awoniyi.
However, never-say-die Eaglets almost equalised when Awoniyi shot directly to the waiting hand of the goalkeeper in the 80th minute.
Awoniyi make amend with a glancing header a minute later off Iheanacho’s cross to make it 3-3.
Nigeria mounted pressure to get the winner towards the end of the game, but met a resolute Sweden defence.
Team P W D L GF GA Pts
2 1 1 0 9 4 4
2 1 1 0 7 4 4
2 1 0 1 4 7 3
2 0 0 2 2 7 0
Canada 1-1 Iran
Argentina 3-2 Austria
Mexico 3-1 Iraq
Sweden 3-3 Nigeria
N’ Zealand Vs Cote’Ivoire (2pm)
Italy Vs Uruguay (2pm)
Slovakia Vs UAE (5pm)
Honduras Vs Brazil (5pm).
Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)