Saturday, November 2, 2013

Eaglets qualify for semi final

Three-time champion Nigeria booked
their place in the semi-finals of the FIFA
U-17 World Cup in UAE with a 2-0 win
over Uruguay in Sharjah. Taiwo Awoniyi
– deputising for the injured Success
Isaac – scored both goals in a game
that was a true test of the Golden
Eaglets' title aspirations. The African
favourites will now meet Sweden in the
semi-final round, in a replay of their 3-3
Group F draw.
Uruguay had the first chance of note
after only six minutes when Enrique
Etcheverry crossed low through the
penalty area. The impressive Leandro
Otormin got a boot to the ball, but
could only direct his effort wide of goal.
It was a false dawn for the 2011
runners-up, however, as the Golden
Eaglets took the game by the scruff of
the neck after 18 minutes.
The Nigerians, who scored 18 goals in
their four games heading into the
quarter-final round, opened the scoring
from a fabulous piece of creative
interplay. Kelechi Iheanacho, scorer of
five goals at these finals, laid a
wonderful through ball, perfectly
weighted, from deep in midfield that
was latched onto by Taiwo Awoniyi. The
striker made no mistake, hitting home
to the back post for his second goal of
the tournament.
Taiwo Awonity of Nigeria celebrates
after scoring against Uruguay during
his FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013
football match in Sharjah on November
2, 2013. AFP PHOTO
Stunned into action, the South
Americans had a decent spell shortly
after. Kevin Mendez and Otormin both
tested Dele Alampasu from distance
with powerful efforts. But it was Nigeria
who controlled most of the possession
and created the more dangerous
chances. Captain Musa Muhammed's
cross from the right after 34 minutes
was only just missed on the doorstep
by the tall and rangy Awoniyi.
The second half started with a flurry of
chances for Nigeria, Awoniyi and Musa
Yahaya both going close to scoring
after creating space for themselves at
the edge of the penalty area. Uruguay
were hanging on, absorbing wave after
wave of Nigerian attacks. In the 68th
minute, Iheanacho turned and fired
from the edge of the box only for his
shot to come flying off the back of a
brave Uruguayan defender.
The knockout blow finally came in the
79th minute, and it followed the same
pattern as the first Nigerian goal.
Iheanacho picked up a perfect pass at
the edge of the area from Chidiebere
Nwakali and carried the ball toward
goal with an elegant touch. The
Uruguayan defence collapsed on the
No10, but he had the presence of mind
to pull the ball across the face of goal,
where Awoniyi stabbed home inside the
far post to send the fans into hysterics.
Manu Garba's Nigeria now move on to
their seventh U-17 World Cup semi-
final, where they will face another
thorough examination in the form of
the organised and talented Swedes in
Dubai. (FIFA)
What is your opinion on the Eaglets /
Uruguay game? Can Eagles win the

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