Nigeria U20 coach John Obuh has admitted his team threw away more chances than they scored in Monday’s 3-0 demolition of Cuba in a U20 World Cup Group B match.
“We lost more than chances than we scored. This was because of the players’ poor attitude in front of goal,” said Obuh.
“But the most important thing is that we back in contention (after our first loss to Portugal) and we hope to stay long enough in the competition to correct this problem.”
Skipper Abduljaleel Ajagun said it was crucial that the Flying Eagles beat Cuba.
“It was not an easy match because Cuba gave us a fight but we’re happy we won the three points at stake and will take it from there,” said the Dolphins striker, who has now scored three goals in Turkey thus far.
Cuba coach Raul Gonzalez conceded that Nigeria were superior to his team.
“It was not such a big disappointment for us to lose to Nigeria because Nigeria were better and more effective than us,” he said.
“It was a dream to play at the World Cup and we have gained a lot of experience here as we have had to play against far better teams like Nigeria.”
Nigeria’s 3-0 win was Africa’s first victory at the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup.
Nigeria have now shot to top place in Group B with three points from two matches, while group leaders Portugal take on South Korea later Monday.
The Flying Eagles went in front after 19 minutes through Umar Aminu, who simply had to tap home a low drive from the left by Olanrewaju Kayode. That was just two minutes after skipper Abduljaleel Ajagun’s clever chip from distance narrowly missed target.
Nigeria doubled their advantage in the 23rd minute and again Aminu was the scorer when he stylishly back heeled home during a goalmouth scramble.
The African representatives ought to have increased their lead thereafter. First, Michael Olaitan’s fierce shot from outside the box crashed against the post with Cuba goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez well beaten. And then on 27 minutes, Ajagun failed to direct his header home when all alone inside the six-yard box.
There was a catalogue of misses by Nigeria early in the second half before Ajagun scored his third goal of the competition in the 66th minute with a diving header from inside the six-yard box. Kayode missed a sitter in the 79th minute, when he had only the goalkeeper to beat.
In the 87th minute, Kayode won a penalty after he was brought down inside the box on his way to goal, but Ajagun failed to score from the spot.
Nigeria’s final Group B match will be against South Korea on Thursday in Istanbul.
Flying Eagles vs Cuba
Samuel Okani – Shehu Abdullahi, Kingsley Madu, Wilfred Ndidi, Ikechukwu Okorie – Ovbokha Agboyi (Moses Orkuma 66), Michael Olaitan, Abduljaleel Ajagun – Kayode Olanrewaju, Umar Aminu (Samuel Eduok 81), Chidi Osuchukwu (Edafe Egbedi 47)
– Sola Rogers (Twitter – @solarogers)