Nigeria’s Flying Eagles coach John Obuh has praised Olanrewaju Kayode, whose match winner propelled his team to the Round of 16 of the U20 World Cup on Thursday.
Kayode has been harshly criticised for throwing away several begging chances in previous games but he finally delivered against South Korea at the Ali Sami Arena in Istanbul with a ninth minute headed winner to book Nigeria an automatic ticket to the knockout of the tournament.
“Kayode has worked really hard for this team getting many of our assists here and he just needed to score a goal and I’m happy he did just that today,” said coach Obuh.
“He has justified the confidence the entire team have on him.”
Obuh said he was also satisfied with his team’s performance even though they could have long killed off this game as they dominated and created the better chances against the Asian champions.
“We made one or two mistakes but overall I’m okay with our performance,” he said.
“Korea are a good team even though we beat them. They have shown they can come back from defeat, like they did against Cuba and then Portugal. So, we had to be a little bit cautious against them.”
Korea coach Kwang Jong Lee conceded his team found it tough going against the individually talented and fast Nigerians.
“It was a tough match against individually gifted and fast Nigerian team,” he admitted.
“Our players found it difficult to penetrate the Nigerian defence and as a result we did not create any chances in the first half.
“But I was satisfied with what we showed in the second half.”
Nigeria became the first African team to qualify to the Round of 16 at Turkey 2013 after they finished second in Group B with six points behind seven-point Portugal, who defeated Cuba 5-0 in the other match of the group.
Kayode put Nigeria ahead when he headed home a free kick from the left by skipper Abduljaleel Ajagun after nine minutes.
Defender Wilfred Ndidi came close with header after 15 minutes off a corner and moments later Kayode’s shot missed narrowly after he was put through on goal by Michael Olaitan.
Shehu Abdullahi also missed with a header inside the box after 32 minutes and minutes later Kayode turned sharply inside the box, but his effort missed target.
In the 54th minute Nigeria goalkeeper Samuel Okani had to dive to stop Sunggyu Han right inside his goal area.
Nigeria continued to dominate the game, but failed to put away the chances they have created.
Kayode then forced goalkeeper Changgeun Lee to make a big save after 73 minutes and seven minutes later, substitute Samuel Eduok saw his effort from the left crash against the side netting.
Flying Eagles vs Korea
Samuel Okani – Shehu Abdullahi, Kingsley Madu, Wilfred Ndidi, Ikechukwu Okorie – Ovbokha Agboyi, Michael Olaitan, Abduljaleel Ajagun – Kayode Olanrewaju (Edafe Egbedi 90), Alhaji Gero, Umar Aminu (Samuel Eduok 59).
– Sola Rogers (Twitter – @solarogers), News Bytes Sports Desk
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