Nigeria defeat Dominican Republic as Italy down Brazil in FIFA U-20 World Cup openers

Nigeria defeat Dominican Republic as Italy down Brazil in FIFA U-20 World Cup openers

Nigeria’s Flying Eagles started their 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup bid in flying colours as they defeated their Dominican Republic opponents 2-1 in the opening game of Group D.

The young Nigerians battled for victory from the jaws of defeat after coming from a goal down to grab vital three points in a match decided on Sunday at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza, Argentina.

The Dominican Republic drew the first blood in the 21st minute when 19-year-old Edison Azcona converted a penalty awarded after a VAR review indicated Nigeria’s Benjamin Frederick had committed a foul in the box.

Nigeria leveled the score in the 32nd minute, thanks to an own goal by Guillermo De Pena after a mistake by the Dominican Republic’s goalkeeper, Xavier Valdez.

The second half of the game saw the two sides fighting to score the decisive goal to run away with the maximum points.

Nigeria’s Samson Lawal emerged as the fortune changer as he scored what proved to be the all decider goal for the West African sides in the 70th minute to win by 2-1 against the resilient Dominican Republic team.

Ladan Bosso and his boys will be up and running against Italy on Wednesday before stepping out for another crucial tie against Brazil in the last game for the Flying Eagles.

In another group D match, Italy ran away with a 3-2 victory over Brazil in a thrilling game of two halves.

The Italians survived a spirited fightback to edge Brazil in a five-goal thriller.

The Group D of the ongoing 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina is rated by football pundits as one of the most difficult in the tournament. The group comprises of Brazil Italy, Nigeria and The Dominican Republic.

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