Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets cruised into the round of 16 of the ongoing FIFA Under-17 World Cup with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Iraq in their final Group F match on Friday.
Goals from Musa Mohammed, Chidiebere Nwakali, a brace from Musa Yahaya and Chigozie Obasi ended a miserable campaign for the Arab nation in Dubai.
Nigeria thus finished the preliminary round as group leaders with seven points after Mexico and Sweden shared the spoils in a goalless draw in AL Ain.
The Golden Eaglets meant business right from the blast of the whistle and were denied a goal in the very first minute when Nwakali hit the bar.
Goalkeeper Dele Alampsu came up with some terrific saves to deny Iraq any chance of registering a goal.
Captain Mohammed opened scoring in the third minute from the penalty spot after Yahaya was brought down inside the box, before Nwakali increased the tally to 2-0.
Alampsu saved a free-kick in the 13th minute and punched a dangerous corner-kick away from goal two minutes later.
Yahaya made it 3-0 in the 17th minute to place coach Manu Garba’s men in the driving seat.
Bello Zaradden was then on hand to stop Iraq’s attack move when he blocked a goal-bound shot for a corner.
Musa Yahaya completed his brace four minutes to half-time, after the Iraqi goallee fumbled a corner-kick.
Iraq returned after the interval to mount pressure on the Nigerian defence which failed to yield.
Taiwo Awoniyi was denied a goal by the crossbar after a great effort eight minutes into the interval only for a Samuel Okon rebound to fly over the bar.
Alampsu made triple saves to deny Iraq a consolation in the 86th minute before Mohammed cleared off the line.
Second-half substitute Obasi fired a pile-driver from 25 yards to make it 5-0 for Nigeria in the closing stages of the match.
Nigeria will now meet the runners-up in Group E, which has Canada, Austria, Argentina and Iran on Tuesday in Dubai.