Losing 0-2 to Nigerian Golden Eaglets in their first match of the Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup was an unfortunate result for the Chief Coach of the United States of America, USA, Richie Williams, who said that his boys failed to live up to expectations.
Cup holders Nigeria started their defence of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on a bright note as the Golden Eaglets bossed the United States of America 2-0 in the opening match of Group A at the 48,000 –capacity Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos in Santiago.
The Eaglets knew they had to start the tournament on a winning note, after President Muhammadu Buhari sent them a message on Friday to ensure they win the trophy for a fifth time, as an end-of-year gift for Nigerians.
“We are obviously disappointed because of the outcome, ” USA Coach, Williams told FIFA. com after the encounter. “We played a good first half, we were balanced, solid and we even created some chances that we were not able to convert. Nigeria scored two quick goals, but thanks to unfortunate errors on our side. We were hoping to be more effective, but we lost against a good Nigerian team,” he said.
His Nigerian counterpart, Emmanuel Amuneke is full of praises for the Eaglets for securing three points from the match, saying “considering it was the first match, I think it was a good game. At the beginning it was pretty even, everything very tactical, neither of us wanted to make a mistake. At half time I told my players to believe in themselves, and it worked, because we were more precise.
“Besides the three points, which are very important, I also liked that we kept our heads even when we could not get things going.”
President of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Amaju Pinnick also praised the boys, saying victory in their first match of the tournament has given the Eaglets huge confidence to go all the way and make President Muhammadu Buhari and indeed all Nigerians proud.
A scoreless opening 45 minutes saw plenty of chances go begging for both sides. USA’s Haji Wright came the closest to opening the scoring 13 minutes in after getting on the end of Christian Pulisic’s cross but the No. 7 could not keep his effort from going over the crossbar.
Pulisic in particular tormented the Nigerian backline with his pace and skill attacking down the left, but the Super Eaglets held on and five minutes after the break took the lead.
The Americans were unable to clear during a scramble in their area and Chukwudi Agor capitalised on the Stars and Stripes’ mistake and smashed the ball into the net, leaving William Pulisic no chance.
The opening goal did not diminish the Americans’ attacking spirit, but Richie Williams’ side could not create any clear-cut chances to find an equaliser. And with half an hour remaining, Victor Osimhien doubled Nigeria’s lead after cleverly beating two defenders and calmly finishing past Pulisic.
To make matters worse for USA, Auston Trusty was shown a straight red card three minutes from time, which will require coach Williams to make some changes in his backline ahead of the Americans’ next match against Croatia on Tuesday.
With the man advantage, the Super Eaglets confidently controlled the tempo of the game until the final whistle.
In other results of the first day of the cadre World Cup, another African representatives, Guinea held England to a 1-1 draw. Korea Republic beat Brazil 1-0, while the hosts, Chile and Croatia played a 1-1 game.
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