Five-time world champions, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria on Tuesday recorded another dramatic victory in the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup as they came from behind to stun Ecuador 3-2 to book an early ticket to the Round of 16.
Ibrahim Sai’d was the hero of the night as he scored three brilliant goals to ensure the Golden Eaglets cruise to the Round of 16 with a game to spare. The immensely talented youngster set the ball rolling for the Golden Eaglets as early as the fifth minute of the match with a calm finish after Ecuador goalie Jona Lopez’s blunder.
However the lead didn’t last for too long as Ecuador stormed right back into the contest in the 10th minute after Adrian Mejia shot hit the goalpost and bounced on the back of Daniel Jinadu before sailing into the net.
The Golden Eaglets sustained pressure on their opponents’ goal area but hasty passes including wayward runs denied them many goal scoring chances to end the first half on equal terms.
On resumption of the second half, the Eaglets kept pressure on the South Americans but were unlucky to fell behind in the 56th minute when Etim was adjudged to have fouled Mercado in the box.
Johan Mina then stepped forward to send Jinadu the wrong way for Ecuador’s second and final goal of the contest.
Faced with defeat, the Golden Eaglets inspired by substitute Akinwunmi Amoo and Ibraheem Jaabar kept pushing forward but would have had their hearts broken if Maina’s long range effort in the 82nd minute didn’t only kiss the upright.
Reprieve, however,came the way of the Eaglets when Sai’d scored his second goal of the night in the 85th minute.
Four minutes later,the midfielder ensured victory for his side in the 89th minute after an exquisite assist from Amoo to completely break the hearts of the South Americans.
The Golden Eaglets final group match is on Friday night in Brasilia against Australia.