*With 3 goals in 5 minutes: Osimhen 29′, Michael 30′, Anumudu 34’*
*Mali qualifies at Croatia’s expense*
Holders Nigeria cruised into the FIFA U-17 World Cup semi-finals after stunning Brazil with three goals in five first half minutes in a 3-0 victory. Victor Osimhen, with his eighth goal in five games, Kingsley Michael and Udochukwu Anumudu battered Brazil, and the Golden Eaglets played the rest of the game out at a canter to reach the final four.
Brazil had looked bright in the opening stages, either finding Akpan Udoh in fine form in the Nigerian net or hitting their opportunities off target, with Rogerio and Evander two of the culprits.
A Seleção were made to rue those missed opportunities when the lethal Osimhen extended his lead at the top of the goalscoring charts. John Lazarus crossed from the Nigerian right and the Nigerian No9 headed in, via a deflection off Eder Militao.
A broken brazil
Moments later, Nigeria doubled their lead, Osimhen instrumental once more. The forward hooked a bouncing ball back over his shoulder, with Michael following in. The ball bounced up off the turf and past Juliano.
The Brazilian No1 was deceived by another bounce just four minutes later, as Anumudu hit a left-footed drive from distance. The effort skipped off the turf, and past the stopper, who was visibly unhappy at not keeping the shot out.
The second period saw few clear-cut opportunities, with Funsho Bamgboye and Evander going closest for either side but, in truth, it was a mere procession for the holders to take a step closer to retaining their title. They will head to Concepcion for Thursday’s semi-final against the winner of tomorrow’s quarter-final between Ecuador and Mexico.
In another match outcome, Nigeria haven punished Brazil’s profligacy and strolled into the last-four with a 3-0 victory, Mali maintained their impressive defensive record to progress to their first FIFA U-17 World Cup semi-final courtesy of a tightly-contested 1-0 win over Croatia.
Mali’s miserly defence continued in their 1-0 victory over Croatia, with Les Aigles stretching their impressive run without conceding to almost five hours.
Sekou Koita’s first-half effort was enough to see off the Europeans, despite a booking for captain Abdoul Dante meaning their leader and defensive organiser will miss the historic semi-final.
Brazil 0-3 Nigeria
Croatia 0-1 Mali
Malians celebrate after their victory over Croatia
Goal of the day
Croatia 0-1 Mali, Sekou Koita (20)
Koita’s effort was outstanding as much for the clinical nature of the 15-year-old’s finish as for the technique of Sidiki Maiga’s assist.
A long crossfield ball from the Malian right found Maiga close to the Croatian touchline. His perfectly-weighted first time touch back was met by the onrushing Koita, who finished with a powerful drive across Adrian Semper into the bottom corner.
Déjà vu for No3
After Nigeria’s swift treble of goals, the TV camera panned to a clearly emotional Ronaldo in the stands. The captain was booked in his side’s Round of 16 clash against New Zealand, meaning he missed the crucial knockout game against the African heavyweights.
The moment had a strange sense of familiarity, with Thiago Silva, Brazil’s captain and No3, also pictured in the stands at the Estadio Mineirao during the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, as the suspended skipper missed his side’s demolition by Germany.
Evander’s knowing smile
By the end of their last eight clash against the holders, Brazil had tried pretty much everything to break down the Nigerian defence, with 21 shots on goal – a total only surpassed in their dominant attacking performance against New Zealand.
Evander summed it up for Carlos Amadeu’s men with his rueful grin after Akpan Udoh clawed out his superb late free-kick with an inspired save. Try as they might, it was not Brazil’s day.
Custodians exchange pleasantries
The two goalkeepers shared a moment of Fair Play ahead of the Croatia-Mali showdown, with Semper and Samuel Diarra exchanging smiles, handshakes and a brief word. Semper was most likely looking for Diarra’s secret formula to success, with the Malian stopper’s clean sheet against the European side meaning he has not conceded for 290 consecutive minutes in Chile.
8 semi-finals for holders Nigeria, a new standalone U-17 World Cup record. They have now reached the most outright, after surpassing Brazil by beating them in the Chile 2015 quarter-final.
“I thank God for having another experience in a very important competition. Unfortunately we went out in the quarter-finals but we go out with heads held high because we gave our maximum. Today was not our day but my team-mates are all to be congratulated for their efforts until the last minute,” Evander, Brazil forward, on his Instagram account after the three-time champions’ exit.
© Copyright 2020 ElombahNews.
DISCLAIMER : Opinion articles are solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers of ElombahNews!
Would you like to be receiving ALL ElombahNews links ‘On The Go’ on WhatsApp Or Telegram? If yes, join us here on WhatsApp or Telegram, or provide us your Telephone number via firstname.lastname@example.org or sms/inbox +2349050382526 and you are good to go!
DOWNLOAD ElombahNews mobile app here
Send eyewitness accounts/ reports/ articles to email@example.com; follow us on twitter @ElombahNews; like our Facebook page ElombahNews