Nigeria defeated Italy 2-0 on the second day of Group D play at the Estadio Malvinas Argentina on Wednesday night with goals from Salem Fago and Jude Sunday, who both scored their first goals at the FIFA U20 World Cup.
But he emerged as the winner as Nigeria won the match for the second time in a row to advance to the knockout stages.
The final score was then glamorized by Jude Sunday, causing millions of Nigerians to celebrate.
Italy got off to a strong start that evening with their impressive 3-2 victory over five-time champions Brazil on matchday one. But the Flying Eagles would not be intimidated lightly.
After weathering an initial Italian assault, Nigeria started to pose some queries of its own.
The West Africans’ midfielder Daniel Daga had a chance to score in the eighth minute, but his low shot missed the goal.
Nigeria received their first corner in the fifteenth minute, but Salim Fago’s header went over the crossbar.
When Pafundi evaded two tackles from Nigerian players in the 21st minute, his low cross reached Cesare Casadei, who fired a shot just wide of the crossbar.
Jude Sunday, the most dynamic Nigerian attacker, had a little window of opportunity on the edge of the box just before the half-hour mark, but his last shot flew beyond the left post.
Soon later, Agbalaka reached the end of another Nigerian corner, but he was only able to head the ball wide.
After Fago pounced on Abdullahi’s through ball and unleashed a ferocious shot that the Italian goalkeeper deflected for a corner, the Flying Eagles finally got the better of the Italian stopper.
Later, Agbalaka handled the ball in the penalty area, potentially earning Italy a penalty, but VAR saved Nigeria by identifying an earlier Italian handball.
Later in the half, Italian corner kicker Aniagboso needed to be alert to deftly turn a ferocious drive from a distance over the post.
The Italian squad had scored three goals in the first 30 minutes of their play against Brazil on matchday one, but the Flying Eagles had done a fantastic job of stopping them. After the break, though, more needed to be done.
Just a few seconds into the second half, Italy threatened, but Nigeria’s defense cleared the ball off the line as it appeared to trickle in following some lovely interaction.
Nigeria responded brilliantly, as captain Bameyi’s venomous 25-yard strike pricked the goalkeeper’s palms.
After some back-and-forth between the two teams, Nigeria finally broke the tie.
Umeh Emmanuel, a replacement, received a cross in the area. After surviving a challenge, he displayed outstanding judgment to find an unmarked Fago, who headed the ball into the goal to score the game’s first goal.
Before delivering the killing blow for the second goal, Nigeria tried to hold onto its lead till the very end.
Italy attempted to strike back, but their effort stalled, allowing Jude Sunday to receive a long pass from goalkeeper Aniagboso. Before scoring the second goal deep into stoppage time, the youthful attacker gathered himself after sprinting forward and breaking the hearts of millions of Italians.
after six points after two games, the Flying Eagles have risen to the top of Group D after their victory over the Azzurrini.
This weekend, the AFCON U20 bronze medalist will play Brazil in their final group game. If Nigeria avoids a loss to the South American superpowers, they will proceed to the round of 16 as the group’s leaders.