Argentina was gunning for a record seventh-time triumph in the Youth Championship. Meanwhile, Nigeria was looking to make it into the last eight after being two-time runners-up in this tournament and exacting revenge against the same country, who denied them the title at the 2005 edition. FIFA World Cup 2022 winner Lionel Messi grabbed both goals against John Mikel Obi's Nigeria on the day.
Against all odds, Flying Eagles defeat the host country, Argentina U20 in front of their "loud" fans.
— POOJA!!! (@PoojaMedia) May 31, 2023
However, with no Messi in their ranks, the Argentina U20 side lacked motivation as they exited the competition. After a cagey first half where Ladan Bosso's boys executed a perfect game plan, it was the Flying Eagles of Nigeria, who, at the foothills of the Andes, climbed over Argentina in the second half of the game to emerge with a stunning 2-0 victory. Ibrahim Beji Mohammed and Rilwanu Haliru Sarki got the goals for the Nigerians.
Nigeria U20 got their flight delayed 9 hours ahead of their knockout tie against Argentina U20.
– No explanation
– Failed to train properly
– Argentine fans tagged it “Welcome to South America”
They’ve knocked out the 6 time U20 Champions out of the tournament!! pic.twitter.com/DRQ0x04SHU
— Yimzy (@oyimzy) June 1, 2023
Argentina vs Nigeria: As It Happened
Nigeria began the match with more possession, pressuring the Argentine defence. In the 9th minute, the first clear-cut chance fell to Mohammed, but his effort went inches wide. The intensity of the match increased, and both teams kept attacking, but without troubling the goalposts. It was an even first half, with both teams finding it difficult to trouble the other.
Nigerian players doing Cristiano Ronaldo’s SIU celebration after eliminating Argentina in the RO16 of the U20 FIFA World Cup. pic.twitter.com/9147B0fhyY
— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) June 1, 2023
The second half started with Argentina pressing Nigeria hard. It almost paid off in the 50th minute, with the Flying Eagles goalie Aniagboso making a great save in the 50th minute to keep the scores at 0-0.
— Agba Influencer (@tweetsbygoody) June 1, 2023
With Argentina looking dangerous, the Nigerian coach made changes in the 57th minute. Jude Sunday was substituted for Rilwanu Haliru Sarki, and Samson Lawal took Umeh Emmanuel's place.
It was a masterstroke as the changes turned the game on its head. Substitute Emmanuel delivered a neat pass to Ibrahim Beji Mohammad, who wiggled his way past his marker, sending a low shot down the right side of the Argentine goal.
Shocked to go behind, Argentina responded almost instantly to level the scores immediately after going down. The home side made changes in the 75th minute to try and get themselves back into the game, attacking with intensity in the next few minutes.
Nigeria felt the pressure as they also had over 21,000 fans to contend with. But as time went on without a goal, Argentine players began to lose control and looked disappointed for not levelling up the match.
The home side's lack of firepower in front of goal gave Nigeria the chance to seal the win. Victor Eletu, who emerged from the bench in the 79th minute and is on the books for AC Milan, assisted Sarki in injury time to confirm Nigeria's place in the quarterfinals.
Victor Eletu with an assist for Nigeria U20 vs Argentinia U20pic.twitter.com/HFAHhLwLgb
— ꜱᴄᴏᴜᴛ7ᴄᴀʟᴄɪᴏ (@Scout7Calcio) May 31, 2023
The Albiceleste tried to score, but it was not to be as the Flying Eagles defended well and held on to a 0-2 famous win over the South Americans.
The last time Nigeria made the quarterfinals was in the 2011 edition, where they lost to France. There is no denying them this time as they await the winner between Ecuador and the Korean Republic.
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 months ago