The Nigeria national U20 team, aka the Flying Eagles, began their 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign with a win against the Dominican Republic on Sunday, May 21 2023.
A goal against the run of play by the Dominican Republic shocked the Flying Eagles. However, they fought back, with two goals, with Samson Lawal's match-winner ensuring Nigeria fought from behind to secure a 2-1 win at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza.
The Flying Eagles are in the City of Mendoza.
Nigeria U20 MNT arrive two days ahead of their opening group match against Dominican Republic. pic.twitter.com/QZ3RoDsi4F
— Sports Radio Brila FM (@Brilafm889) May 18, 2023
The Flying Eagles, two-time runners-up at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, were pre-game favourites to reign supreme over the Dominican Republic, who're making their debut at the FIFA U-20 World Cup tournament.
FIFA U-20 World Cup: Nigeria vs Dominican Republic As It Happened
Surprisingly, the Central American nation got their noses in front when Azcona Edison tucked away a penalty in the 23rd minute to take the lead. The goal spurred the Flying Eagles into decisive action as they levelled eight minutes after falling behind.
Flying Eagles off to flying start 🦅
Nigeria U20 secures a 2-1 comeback win over Dominican Rep. to get their World Cup campaign to a bright start.
Bring on Italy. pic.twitter.com/Mo51i6HqcU
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) May 21, 2023
Nigeria floated a corner into the danger area, and Guillermo de Peña put the ball at the back of his own in trying to clear to make it 1-1 in the 31st minute.
The West African side continued to boss the possession, creating chances and dictating the tempo of the game, but they lacked cutting edge in the final third. This continued until the first half ended.
The second half started similarly until the 71st minute when a defensive error by the Dominican Republic gave Samson Lawal the chance to react quickly and put the ball beyond the goalkeeper, giving Nigeria a deserved lead. Both sides tried to get more goals in the game but failed.
Nigeria hung onto their lead and secured the first three crucial points of the group. They sit second in the Group D table behind Italy, who beat Brazil 3-2. Ladan Bosso's boys will now go toe-to-toe with the Italians on Wednesday for a place in the knockout stage.
Ladan Bosso's Thoughts
The head coach of the Flying Eagles, Ladan Bosso, speaking after the win to FIFA U20 World Cup 2023, expressed satisfaction with the result of the match. He praised his boys' synergy from the defence to the attack and what they must correct ahead of their next FIFA U-20 World Cup fixture.
FIFA U20 World Cup – Flying Eagles update:
Nigeria U20 coach, Ladan Bosso after yesterday's friendly game against Colombia that ended 3-3; "I am happy with the result. This will bolster the team mentally and psychologically for the World Cup starting in a few days. pic.twitter.com/p6h0J058qX
— Adepoju Tobi Samuel 🇳🇬 (@OgaNlaMedia) May 17, 2023
Bosso said: “We have played against the FIFA U-20 debutants, and we have seen what they can do, and we were able to subdue them. One of the good things about the team is that their organization is perfect from the defence to the midfield and then the attack.”
“We missed so many chances, and we need to work on those chances before the next match,” said the Nigeria coach.
Nigeria is a two-time runner-up of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, having lost in the finals of the 1989 and 2005 competitions. This crop of Flying Eagles is determined to script history in Argentina by playing another final and bringing the trophy home, a feat the former Flying Eagles team have failed to do.
This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago