African champions, Nigeria will clash with champions of Europe, Germany in Christchurch on Thursday in an U20 World Cup Round of 16 match after they cruised past Hungary 2-0 to finish second in Group E.
The Flying Eagles recorded six points from three matches to finish second behind Brazil, who won the group after they beat North Korea to tally the maximum.
Taiwo Awoniyi gave Nigeria the lead in the 33rd minute, when he finished off a low drive by Godwin Saviour from the right flank.
Awoniyi doubled the advantage after 54 minutes, when he cashed in on a defensive mix-up to round up the Hungary goalkeeper Gyorgy Szekely for his second goal of the tournament.
Hungary took the early attacking initiative, but it was Nigeria that really threatened after Godwin Saviour’s shot narrowly missed target after 12 minutes.
The Hungary goalkeeper then pushed to corner a goal-bound shot by Kingsley Sokari in the 14th minute.
Two minutes later, Bernard Bulbwa saw his promising pile driver also deflected for a corner.
Awoniyi was denied a goal by goalkeeper Szekely, who saved his header from inside the six-yard box.
The gangling striker could have completed his hat-trick on 59 minutes, but he could not direct shot on target when he was faced with an open goal.
Minutes later, he combined beautifully with leftback Mustapha Abdullahi but the flowing move was thwarted for a corner.
Sokari’s shot on 75 minute from inside the box was too weak and too direct to trouble the goalkeeper.
Late substitute Moses Simon threatened the Hungary when he came on, but the Flying Eagles had already done enough to carry the day.
Nigeria will need to summon another strong performance if they are a chance to eliminate the impressive Germans on Thursday in Christchurch, while Hungary’s clash against Serbia is set for Wednesday afternoon in Dunedin.
African Football/ Bilkisu Pai