With a 4-0 win over Qatar, Nigeria’s Flying Eagles were off to a flying start winning their first opening match in three editions of the U-20 World Cup, having lost 2-3 to Portugal in 2013 and 2-4 to Brazil in 2015.

They were in their flying best almost spelling Q-A-T-A-R with goals. It was a bold statement that the team delivered.

Nigerian fans have cause to rejoice

The Flying Eagles, runners-up to a Portugal in 1989 and in 2005, soared 2-0 up inside 25 minutes – and both goals were indebted to their left-back. The first was by Maxwell Effiom in the 12th minute while Okechukwu Offia doubled the lead in the 24th minute.

They were spectacular goals. First, Skipper Ikouwem Utin duped his marker and unleashed a swerving shot, which Shehab Mamdouh could only push into the path of Maxwell Effiom, whose first-time volley broke the deadlock.

Utin again then somehow sprung four challenges down the left and cut the ball back to present Okechukwa Offia with a comfortable finish from close range.

Qatar did have their chances. Zulkifilu Rabiu catapulted himself across the Tychy turf to make an outstanding block from Yusuf Abdurisag, and Nigeria goalkeeper Olawale Oremade was alert to break up a three-on-one break from which the underdogs should have made more.

were further punished, esteemed Manchester City midfielder Tom Dele-Bashiru making it 3-0 before Aliu Salawudeen’s swivel and shot completed the rout.

The teams return to action on Monday, when Qatar face Ukraine and Nigeria encounter USA.



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