Flying Eagles recorded their first victory of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup against debutantes, Cuba, with an emphatic 3-0 win on Monday in Kayseri, Turkey.
After losing their opening match 3-2 to Portugal, coach John Sam Obuh and his side were bent on recovering from the narrow loss as a first-half double from Aminu Umar, followed by skipper Abduljaleel Ajagun’s third goal of the tournament ensured that the Nigerian side remained on track for a knock-out stage qualification.
It was the first meeting between the two sides at all levels of international football and the Cubans got off to a good start as Nigeria failed to make an early impression. Ajagun almost gave Nigeria the lead with a superb lob, from the right of the penalty area while running at full pace, but Sandy Sanchez was relieved to see it land on the roof of the net.
Seconds later they were in the ascendancy when Ajagun fed Kayode Olarenwaju down the right wing, who got clear of the defence before squaring to Umar to score what is likely to be the easiest goal of his career.
Four minutes later, Umar, with a touch of flair, got his second goal. Osuchukwu’s deep corner eventually found Abdullahi Shehu, who drilled a cross that Umar flicked between his legs and into the bottom corner.
Olaitan Michael almost made it three with a superb right-footed effort that ricocheted off the outside of the post.
Nigeria were in full control of the game into the second period and while Kayode broke beyond the back- line but fired wide across goal, Ajagun added to his goal tally in the 67th minute.
Kingsley Madu’s cross deceived Sanchez and Ajagun stooped to head home to climb to the top of the scorers’ chart so far. The skipper had an opportunity to net a brace from the penalty spot after Martinez upended Kayode in the area but missed target.