Nigeria U20 coach John Obuh has said his team put up a good fight only to crash out of the World Cup in Turkey to Uruguay on Tuesday night.
“Despite playing a man short for half of the match, we fought a good fight,” declared Obuh.
“The match has been won and lost and we accept the loss in good faith.”
He added: “Our target at this tournament was not to leave the stage this early but I hope the next coach will take it from where I stopped.
“What is very certain is that Nigeria is a football nation blessed with a lot of talent. The players only have a focus and they will be world beaters.”
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Aminu Maigari commended the fighting spirit of the team, urging them to not allow this setback affect the bright future that awaits them.
“We wish to commend your performance against Uruguay, but unfortunately one team has to win and another has to lose,” he told the team.
“You did your best and went out there to win but it was not meant to be.
“You should learn from the mistakes you made so that next time we will go all the way.”
Nigeria fell behind after 64 minutes when Nicolas Lopez slotted home after goalkeeper Samuel Okani failed to deal with a free kick from the left.
Olanrewaju Kayode drew Nigeria level in the 69th minute when he let fly from just outside the box.
And moments later, Michael Olaitan saw his effort crash against the side netting.
Okani pulled off a big save in the 56th minute and Nigeria created a number of chances thereafter before Uruguay regained the lead from the penalty spot through Lopez in the 84th minute after Wilfred Ndidi had fouled a goal-bound Diego Rolan.
Nigeria began to play with a man short after 40 minutes when fullback Shehu Abdullahi was sent off for a double-footed tackle on Diego Laxalt.
It was a cagey start by both teams as they tried to settle down.
In the 16th minute, Umar Aminu created Nigeria’s best chance yet when he delivered a low cross into the Uruguay goal area, but there was no one to connect home.
Two minutes later, Uruguay responded when Gino Acevedo dashed through, but his final effort from inside the box was wide off target to the relief of the Flying Eagles.
Aminu then got a chance to give Nigeria the lead in the 37th minute, when he was all alone inside box but he directed his shot straight at goalkeeper Guillermo de Amores.
Flying Eagles vs Uruguay
Samuel Okani – Shehu Abdullahi, Kingsley Madu, Wilfred Ndidi, Ikechukwu Okorie – Ovbokha Agboyi, Michael Olaitan, Abduljaleel Ajagun – Kayode Olanrewaju (Christian Pyagbara 86), Alhaji Gero, Umar Aminu (Moses Orkuma 44)
– Sola Rogers, News Bytes Sports Desk
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