Nigeria’s U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets, are through to the final of the ongoing FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile as they came from behind to beat Mexico 4-2 in a thrilling semi-final match in the early hours of Friday.
The Mexicans had the better start at the Estadio Municipal Ester RoaConcepcion and they were in front after just eight minutes when the Eaglets defence was caught flat-footed and Kevin Magana was gifted the opening goal.
After going down to an early goal, the Coach Emmanuel Amuneke-tutored side gradually settled into the game and in the 35th minute they were back levelled when Captain Kelechi Nwakali masterfully curled in a free kick from outside the box.
The equaliser sure gave the Eaglets the needed boost as eight minutes later they were in front. This time it was Orji Okonkwo who rocketed in a shot to give Nigeria a 2-1 lead going into the half-time break.
Nigeria started the second half quite brightly and even hit the upright in their quest to extend their lead.
However, it was Mexico that scored first in the second half again and it was a classic goal from Diego Cortes who wriggled through the Nigeria defence before rounding up the keeper to score one of the best goals of the Chile tournament.
The Eaglets dusted up themselves yet again as they set out to restore their lead, and their efforts paid off in the 67th minute when Ebere Osinachi made and attempt from a difficult angle and the Mexican goalkeeper helped the ball into his own net.
Nigeria made sure they killed the game in the 83rd minute when a penalty kick was awarded to the Eaglets and Victor Oshimen calmly slotted in the ball to register his ninth goal of the tournament which now makes him the joint record holder of goals at the cadet championships.
Despite the five minutes additional time given, there was no coming back for Mexico as Nigeria effectively booked her place in the finals for the eighth time since first participating in the 1985 edition.
With this, the stage is now set for an all-African final, as Mali earlier reached their first ever FIFA U-17 World Cup final courtesy of an astonishing come-from-behind 3-1 victory against Belgium.
The Europeans had taken the lead through Dante Rigo, but Boubacar Traore’s swift response was followed by second half goals from Sidiki Maiga and Sekou Koita.
The final comes up on Sunday at the Estadio Sausalito Vina Del Mar.