Nigeria 0-1 South Korea: Asian Tigers’ sucker punch dashes Flying Eagles’ U20 World Cup dreams
Nigeria have crashed out of the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup after the Flying Eagles lost 1-0 to South Korea in the quarterfinal match played on Sunday at the Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades.
The two teams played out a goalless draw in regulation time, but the Korea Republic came up with the winner in the first half of extra time to send the Flying Eagles out of the tournament.
The first half was a dour affair as both sides were being too careful not to concede the first goal.
While the two teams did their best to match each other in every department on the pitch, Nigeria were slightly the better side.
The Flying Eagles enjoyed more possession and were the more adventurous, winning five corner kicks to South Korea’s one.
For all their industry, however, the Africans only tested their opponent’s goalkeeper once.
The second half was not any different as the South Koreans remained organised at the back while Nigeria stayed resolute.
The chances were few and far from being clear-cut, as the match ended with neither of the goalkeepers truly tested.
However, five minutes into extra time, South Korea had their breakthrough. The Asian Tigers won a corner kick from which Choi Seok-Hyun profited to head them in front.
The Flying Eagles were stung to action after falling behind, and they threw everything they had at the Koreans but found their opponents’ defence a wall too hard to break down.
Emmanuel Umeh had two chances late on to grab a much-deserved equaliser for Nigeria but he could not find the back of the net as the Flying Eagles once again exited the U20 World Cup at the quarterfinal stage.
Nigeria last reached the semifinals of the tournament in 2005 when a John Mikel Obi-inspired side was beaten 1-0 in the final by Argentina.