BY EDMOND ODOK – As predicted by many soccer pundits, Nigeria’s Flying Eagles are out of the on-going FIFA under-20 World Cup tournament in Poland
The last 16 stage defeat fittingly put an end to Nigeria’s torrid campaign as the Amadou Sagna-inspired Senegal carried the day in Lodz
The West African derby no doubt lived up to its top billing as the young Teranga Lions held their nerves to decision Nigeria 2-1 at the magnificent Lodz Stadium.
Forward Amadou Sagna broke the deadlock in the 36th minute with a low, right-footed effort while Ibrahima Niane doubled the Senegalese lead late in first-half stoppage time.
Finding space on the left hand side of the Ikouwem Utin-led Nigeria’s defence, Alpha Diounkou delivered a cross which the Flying Eagles failed to deal with as Niane slotted the ball past Oremade Olawale.
It was the Flying Eagles’ turn to enjoy a superb start to the second half, as the Coach Paul Aigbogun’s boys scored five minutes after the whistle.
From a free kick just outside the penalty area, Success Makanjoula sent his cross left of the wall and found the boot of impressive Aniekeme Okon, who flicked in the easy goal past Senegalese goalkeeper, Dialy Ndiaye.
The Flying Eagles pressed hard in search of an equaliser but Yira Sor missed their best chance to draw level, when he miscue a shot off-target with an open goal after Muhamed Tijani dropped a cross onto his path.
It was a tight contest in the final minutes that saw wits and will tested, but the young Lions of Teranga willed their way to victory and a quarter-final spot in the bargain..
With Sagna increasing his goal tally to four, the Coach Youssouph Dabo’s lads continue their fairy-tale run for glory in the competition.
For their inspiring efforts in Poland so far, what is up next up for the Senegalese is the quarter-final match against Japan or Korea Republic slated for Saturday, June 8 inside the Bielsko Biala Stadium at 20:30 local time – With agency reports
ALL THE LAST 16 PAIRINGS/RESULTS
SUNDAY – JUNE 2
Italy 1 vs Poland 0 (AET) in Gdynia
Colombia 1 (5) vs New Zealand 1 (4) penalties in Lodz
MONDAY – JUNE 3
Uruguay 1 vs Ecuador 3 (Lublin)
Ukraine 4 vs Panama 1 (Tychy)
Senegal 2 vs Nigeria 0 (Lodz)
TUESDAY – JUNE 4
Japan vs Korea Republic (Lublin)
France vs USA (Bydgoszcz)
Argentina vs Mali (Bielsko-Biala