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FIFA U-20 World Cup: Nigeria shock hosts Argentina, advance to quarterfinals

The Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario in San Juan was the site of a surprise early exit for 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup hosts Argentina, who fell to Nigeria by a 2-0 score in the Round of 16 on Wednesday. Ibrahim Muhammad and Rilwanu Sarki scored in the second half to send the Flying Eagles soaring into the quarterfinals much to the disappointment of the home supporters. Nigeria will meet the winner of Thursday’s match between Ecuador and South Korea on Sunday.

The right signs were there for Nigeria considering that Argentina, awarded the hosting duties at the last minute, had failed to qualify from South America’s CONMEBOL region following an early elimination at the 2023 South American U-20 Championship. Argentina did take the initiative and were in control of the match for long stretches but could not provide a serious test for Nigeria goalkeeper Chijioke Aniagboso.

Attacking struggles continued for both teams into the second half but the nature of the match suited Nigeria, who stunned the hosts by striking in the 61st minute when Ume Emmanuel’s lifted through pass sent Muhammad in on goal to finish past Argentina keeper Federico Gomes Gerth. Argentina pushed furiously to level the match but luck was not on their side with several close opportunities going the way of the Nigerian defense and Aniagboso.

A long period of second half stoppage time was concerning for Nigerian supporters but their Flying Eagles put the result beyond doubt in the first minute. Victor Eletu muscled off an Argentinean defender to latch onto a bouncing ball into the penalty area and with Gomes Gerth coming out, looked up and crossed for Sarki to head into the goal with Gomes Gerth out of position.

Highlights from Nigeria’s victory are below.

Nigeria 2-0 Argentina: Highlights

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