By Victor Okoye
Abuja – Australia on Friday edged Nigeria 2-1 in the teams’ final Group B encounter at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 at the Estadio Bezerrão in Brasilia (Gama).
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Noah Botic continued his fine form in the tournament by netting a brace.
Botic scored a goal in each half in what was an intense match with both sides enterprising in their attacking play.
The forward has scored four of Australia’s five goals at Brazil 2019 and he will be a player Morgan will know he can rely on to deliver in the knockout stage.
This was a significant result for the Joeys, not only for its immediate value in securing their qualification to the Round of 16 as one of the best third-place sides, but also for its historical value.
It was the first win for Australia against Nigeria at their seventh attempt in the U-17 world finals.
Already qualified for the last 16, the Golden Eaglets showed the quality and talent they have in their side despite the result.
They were thwarted by an inspired Australian defence led by goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic, who made multiple saves on the evening.
Head coach Manu Garba will be pleased with his team’s response after going down early.
This when Peter Olawale, who was making his debut, equalised in the 21st minute with a terrific curled, left-footed shot from the edge of the box.
However, the Golden Eaglets will have to improve on their finishing in the knockout stage as they failed to be clinical in front of goal in a game where they registered 34 shots in total.
Group B winners Nigeria next take on the third best team in one of Group A, C or D in the Round of 16 on Nov. 5.