Nigeria’s U-20 national team – the Flying Eagles – got their World Cup campaign to a bright start with a 2-1 comeback win over Dominican Republic in the opening Group D encounter staged at the Estadio Malvinas stadium in Argentina on Sunday night.
The Caribbean Boys drew first blood through midfielder Edison Azcona in the 23rd minute after Nigerian center-back, Benjamin Fredrick brought down an opposing attacker in the box. Azcona stepped up to convert the resulting spot kick and got the Dominicans an early lead in a game which notably marks the country’s first ever appearance at a FIFA World Cup tournament (any age grade or gender).
The lead was not to last however, as just eight minutes later, left-back Guillermo de Pena unfortunately struck the ball into his own net following a Nigeria corner kick.
The Eagles then dominated proceedings for the better part of the game, but could not beat the Dominican goalkeeper Xavier Valdez, not until the 70th minute when Samson Lawali latched on to a clumsy pass between the defence of the North Americans and prodded home the go-ahead goal for Nigeria.
The Eagles had several other attempts later in the game, but Lawali’s strike was what proved decisive for Ladan Bosso’s boys on the night as they momentarily go to the top of Group D with three points.
They will next play Italy on Wednesday, May 24.