Beat Korea 3-1, to face Spain
By John Egbokhan, Calabar
The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria last night overcame hard-fighting Korea 3 – 1 at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar to advance to the semi -final of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The defending champions began
the quarter-final encounter in a businesslike fashion, pinning the Koreans to their own half in the early minutes of the game but failed to get an early lead due to poor finishing with the teamâ€™s pointsman, Stanley Okoro, being the worst culprit.
The Koreans absorbed the early tirade by the Nigerians and contested every ball with equal zest.
With an attack that put five goals past New Zealand in their previous match, the Eaglets did not find the Koreans an easy nut to crack as the Asians who vowed to shame their hosts before the encounter showed much resilience.|
Midway into the first half, Ramon Azeez fired a volley from about 25 meteres which was deflected by a Korean defender for a corner kick. TheÂ corner kick was poorly cleared by a Korean defender to an unrushing Ramon Azeez who fired home the curtain raiser for Nigeriaâ€™s opening goal.
The stands erupted with a wild cheer that shook the stadium to its foundation. For once the trumpets and drumming by the supporters club were audible while the vuvuzela horns were less pronounced.
The goal served as a wake up call for the Koreans who unleashed a compact attacking spell that pushed the Nigerians back to their own half. Koreaâ€™s number ten fired home a volley from 25 metres for the equaliser.
On resumption, the Nigerians continued their dominance until Ajagun scored again in the 50th minute with a long shot that made nonsense ofÂ the efforts of the Korean goalkeeper.
In the 79th minute Korea almostÂ scored by firing a volley that sailed inches over the cross bar.
Terry Enyon made victory certain for the Nigerians who will now meet Spain in one of the semi-final matches in Lagos on Thursday.