Nigeria’s flying eagles will take on South Korea in the U 20 world cup quarter-finals after thrashing the host nation Argentina in the round of 16.
South Korea defeated Ecuador 3-2 on Thursday night to set up the tie with the Nigerians who stunned hosts Argentina 2-0 the previous day.
Both sides will square up at the Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades in Santiago Del Estero on Sunday for a place in the semi-finals of the competition.
Against Ecuador, South Korea raced into the lead in the 11th minute of the tie courtesy of a Lee-Young-Jun strike. Eight minutes later, Bae Jun-Ho doubled the score line.
Justin Cuerto then dispatched a penalty in the 36th minute to get Ecuador back in the game.
But the South Koreans restored their two-goal cushion in the 48th minute through Choi Seok—Hyun. But Ecuador were to get a second goal in six minutes. 3-2 and the game on!
Despite the tense atmosphere as Ecuador poured forward in waves of attacks and in search of redemption, South Korea survived to book a mouth-watering date with Nigeria.
Sunday’s tie will be the third time Nigeria and the Asians will be meeting in the age-grade competition.
They first clashed in 2005. That was in the group stage with South Korea beating a Nigerian side that featured Mikel Obi, Taiye Taiwo, and the like. The Flying Eagles surrendered a one-goal lead to lose the game 2-1.
In 2013, both sides met again when Turkey hosted the competition with Nigeria’s Flying Eagles soaring over their foes. It was a one-nil victory for the West Africans.
While Nigeria have been runners-up twice in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, losing to Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina in 2005 and then placing second in 1989, South Korea have only managed to reach the final of the competition once. That was in 2019 when Poland thrashed them 3-1 to win the championship.
Sunday’s game between Nigeria and South Korea at the 2023 U-20 World Cup is billed for 6 pm.