After a mission impossible at getting to the championship game of the U20 World Cup in Argentina, the Flying Eagles will return home on Tuesday.
They fought gamely but lost after extra time to Korea Republic at the quarter final stage on Sunday.
Two-time runners-up Nigeria dominated for large parts of the game but were eliminated from the FIFA U20 World Cup by a single goal on Sunday as Korea Republic surged into the semi-finals for the second successive tournament.
The Flying Eagles, who eliminated hosts and six-time champions Argentina in the Round of 16 on Wednesday, created few chances despite passing the ball round the field quite well, with lack of punch in the final third the undoing of the seven-time African champions.
Victor Eletu, whose show of guts and grits led to the second goal that ended Argentina’s hope on Wednesday, curled a fine shot from outside the box on the half hour, but the Korean goalkeeper punched it out of danger.
In a highly cagey affair, both teams watched each other closely and only few risks were taken throughout the first period.
In the second period, Nigeria looked more adventurous with defender Daniel Bameyi striking from the edge of the box, only to see his effort stopped by the goalkeeper. In added time, Emmanuel Umeh’s dazzling run ended with a shot that was also smartly held by the Korean goal-tender.
The Asian vice champions got the winner five minutes into the first period of extra time, when substitute Sun Choi met a corner kick with a glancing header, and Nigeria goalkeeper Chijioke Aniagboso was in no man’s land.
Umeh, with a great chance to equalize in the 109th minute, blazed over the bar, and in the final minute, struck the side of the net.