By Eniola Olatunji ( Reporting for Newspot)
…Columbia beat Israel by same margin in Group C opener.
The Flying Eagles of Nigeria on Sunday night at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza, Argentina gave a leather slam to debutant Dominican Republic 2-1 in a rather ding-dong match.
The Dominicans tutored by Cuban Coach, Walter Benitez drew the first blood the first blood when a Benjamin Fredrick of Nigeria foul drew the attention of VAR and Ref Yusuka Araki from Japan pointed to the spot for penalty to Dominic Republic to score their first ever world U20 Mens’ goal through E. Azcona in the 23rd minute.
Nigeria that had made some scintillating appearances in the World U20 competition coached by experienced Isah Ladan Bosso began to mount serious pressure and terrorize the Dominican defence especially through Tormentor-in-Chief, Sunday Adeniran Lawal which yielded dividend when Diinican defender, De Peria Rosario headed home into his net a long throw-in typical of Anthony Ota who played for Nigeria Green Eagles in the days of yore, that was in the 31st minute for the equalizer.
The tireless Sunday intercepted a weak back pass in the 70th minute to score the winning goal. Nigeria would have scored more goals but for the lack of clinical shooting at goal that needs the expertise of Moshe Dayan the one-eyed globally acknowledged Israeli General, most rifle shooter to train the Nigerians. Also, great kudos to the agile Dominic goal keeper, Xavier Derig who saved many chances of the Nigerian team.
The two Nigerian players who FIFA tipped to wreak havoc Victor Eletu of AC Milan and Abel Ogwuche of Trellebougs did not click. Nigeria had 25 shot at goal with 11 on target against Dominic 5 shots on at goal with 3 on target; Nigeria dominated with 59-41% ball possession and kept the Debutant team on their toes with the stringing of 474 passes to 341. Expectedly Dominic committed highest foul calls 12-7 with the only two yellow cards to them. Nigeria was however wasteful with 10-2 corner kicks and adventure they cannot afford against Italy and Brazil who are still lurking on their lanes.
In the Group C match played at another venue, Columbia defeated Israel 2-1 with all goals scored in the second half.
Debutant Dominican Republic from the Caribbean is in the competition because the team emerged Runners-up of the CONCACAF wing of FIFA where in Honduras, USA bashed the team with an embarrassing 6-0 scores.
Nigeria in their 13th Appearance has a long story being Runners-up at the World level twice in 1989 when Nigeria beat USA 2-1 in the Semis with Head Master, Mutiu Adepoju scoring the two goals in the 47th and 93rd minutes and Snow scored for America via penalty in the 52nd minute. Nigeria lost 0-2 to Portugal in the final. The second time Nigeria emerged Runners-up was in 2005 when the Flying Eagles trashed Morocco 3-0 in the semis. The finals were more memorable with Nigeria bowing to Argentina as football wizard, Leo Messi messed Nigeria up scoring two penalties 40th and 75th minute while Ogbuke scored for Nigeria in the 53rd minute. Messi, Mikel Obi and Taye Taiwo dominated the awards at the tournament.
Nigeria won Bronze in Saudi Arabia 1985 after beating Brazil 2-0 in the semis and defeated Soviet Union 3-1 on Penalties after 0-0 at Full Time. Thrice Nigeria lost in the quarters while hosting in 1999 when Mali beat Nigeria 3-1 at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium in Enugu. Spain won the trophy beating Japan 4-0 and Mali won the Bronze beating Uruguay 1-0. In 2007 in Canada on 15th July 2007Chile dismissed Nigeria 4-0 in the quarters after Extra Time. At Columbia in 2011 France beat Nigeria 3-2.
At 2200 hours tonight, Italy will play Brazil in Group D which involves Nigeria at the Mendoza venue while Senegal will trade tackles with Japan in Group C.
Nigeria will meet Italy at 1900 on Wednesday while Brazil and Dominic Republic will square up at 2200 hours at Mendoza.
In the matches played yesterday, Argentina leads Group A after beating Uzbekistan 2-1 and New Zealand also has 3 points from a 1-0 victory over Guatemala. Slovakia leads Group B with their 4-0 slaughter of Fiji Islands while USA is second with a lone goal victory over Ecuador.
Tomorrow Monday, France will play South Korea in group F and England will have Tunisia in Group E both matches at 1900 hours. At 2200 hours, Gambia will test skills with Honduras in Group F and Uruguay will slot it out with Iraq in group E at the same time.
Eniola Olatunji reporting for Patmos Media Line.