Nigeria’s Flying Eagles delivered a bold statement of intent on Friday at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a 4-0 thrashing of Qatar in their group D opening match.
Nigeria, runners-up to Portugal in 1989 and Argentina in 2005, raced to a 2-0 lead inside 25 minutes, with all thanks going to their left full back for both goals.
Ikouwem Utin deceived his marker and unleashed a swerving shot, which Shehab Mamdouh could only push into the path of Maxwell Effiom, whose first-time volley broke the deadlock.
Utin then somehow sprung four challenges down the left and cut the ball back to present Okechukwa Offia with a comfortable finish from close range.
Qatar did have their chances with Zulkifilu Rabiu catapulting himself across the Tychy turf to make an outstanding block from Yusuf Abdurisag.
Olawale Oremade, Flying Eagles goalkeeper, was also alert to break up a three-on-one from which the underdogs should have made more.
They were further punished with Tom Dele-Bashiru, esteemed Manchester City midfielder, making it 3-0 before Aliu Salawudeen’s swivel and shot completed the rout.
The teams return to action on Monday, when Qatar face Ukraine and Nigeria take on the U.S.