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International Football

Sand Eagles Crumble in Night of Hat-tricks



The Nigerian beach soccer team which is used to big margin losses, again lost by big score line on Thursday night in one of the opening matches for the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in the Bahamas.
Italy’s Gabriele Gori scored double hat-trick in a 12-6 defeat of Nigeria. Another Italian player, Paolo Palmacci had a hat-trick – two of the goals were bicycle kicks.
In essence, two Italian players, Gabriele Gori and Paolo Palmacci accounted for nine of the 12 goals scored against Nigeria. It may have just been a night of hat-trick stars as half of Nigeria’s six goals were by Abu Azeez.
It brings to memory other wide margin losses such the 5-11 loss to Brazil in 2009, 2-7 to Switzerland also in 2009 and the 4-8 to Russia in 2011.
In the Thursday night match, it was Nigeria that opened with offensive play with Abu Azeez scoring after one minute and nine seconds.
The Italians responded 41 seconds later to score the first goal of his hat-trick. Nigeria again shot ahead through Godspower Iguda before the Italian double hat-trick hero began to exact his control of the game.
Nigeria will face Mexico on Saturday night while Italy will meet Iran.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and the country’s most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022.

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