Nigeria beat Mexico 3-0 in the Under-17 World Cup final on Friday in Abu Dhabi to win the tournament for a record fourth time.
Nigeria went ahead in the ninth minute through Erick Aguirre’s own goal before Kelechi Iheanacho doubled the lead in the 56th. Nigeria captain Musa Muhammed scored from a free kick in the 81st minute to complete the victory as the country surpassed Brazil’s three titles at the U17 level.
In what was a rematch of Nigeria’s 6-1 win in the opening Group F match, Mexico had the better chances early. Alejandro Diaz’s close-range effort was just wide of the target and minutes later Nigeria goalkeeper Dele Alampasu tipped Ivan Ochoa’s header over the bar.
Watch a replay of the FIFA U-17 final on CBC TV Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. However, Nigeria then went on a counterattack and Musa Yahaha’s shot deflected off Aguirre and past Mexico goalkeeper Raul Gudino.
The remainder of the opening half was played at a frenetic pace and saw both sides squander opportunities. Alampasu made another good save in the 30th minute from Ulises Jaimes’s header after a lovely ball from Mexico captain Ulises Rivas.
For Nigeria, Awoniyi’s strike hit the side of the net in the 37th minute, while Yahaha’s long-range effort struck the crossbar just before halftime.
Both teams threatened in the opening stages of the second half, and Nigeria doubled its lead when Iheanacho took advantage of Gudino’s poor attempt to clear the ball.
Missed the mark
Mexico continued to attack and could have scored when Aguirre found Ochoa in space. But his header from right in front of goal was wide of the target.
The West Africans sealed the victory when Muhammed curled a free kick from the edge of the penalty box over the wall and past the outstretched arms of Gudino in the 81st minute.
Earlier, Sweden clinched third place after beating Argentina 4-1, thanks to Valmir Berisha’s hat trick. Carlos Strandberg also scored for Sweden, while Lucio Campagnucci found the net for Argentina.
“There’s a lot of feelings right now, Sweden coach Roland Larsson said. “This is my last game with this team, so this is the perfect present for me.
“This is a sensation for Swedish football; no one would believe we could do this.” Iheanacho was crowned Golden Ball winner for best player, while Sweden’s Berisha earned the Golden Shoe award for most goals with seven.
Source: African Leadership Magazine