Lagos - Flying Eagles of Nigeria have qualified for the last 16 of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup as Group E runners-up after a well earned 2-0 win over Hungary at the Taranaki Stadium in New Plymouth, New Zealand.
Nigeria needed maximum points to make sure of their place in the knockout stages, but a draw could also have been good enough in booking their ticket as one of the best third-placed teams.
The Europeans were quickly out of the blocks with their quick thinking as they won the key battles in the early moments of the make or mar match.
They forced Joshua Enaholo to a dipping save before a corner kick was cleared to safety by the Flying Eagles back-line.
The tempo of the game suddenly changed with the Nigerian forward line growing in confidence.
Godwin Saviour who grabbed a brace in the Flying Eagles 4-0 win over North Korea had the first real chance to score for his team but he failed to punish the Hungarians.
Kingsley Sokari saw his shot parried to safety by Hungary goalkeeper Gyorgy Szekely.
The custodian also kept away a free header from Taiwo Awoniyi. It was a wonderful diving save, a header from a corner-kick was going in but the Hungary stopper was up to the task.
Also Read: Obuh cautions Flying Eagles against being too anxious
The two goalkeepers were kept busy by the rampaging attackers of both sides and the fans at the match venue yearned for more of the attacking flavour.
Three minutes after the half-hour mark, Nigeria drew the curtain raiser and it was Awoniyi who opened his World Cup account.
Awoniyi stole behind two defenders before he converted a good cross from Godwin Saviour.
The European side tried to come back into the game but steely defending by the back four led by skipper of the Nigerian side Musa Mohammed denied them the luxury.
It was a good first 45 minutes for the Flying Eagles who were out to join fellow Africans Senegal, Mali and Ghana in the knockout stages.
The Hungary knew they had to increase the accerelation and velocity in their tactical system and they were almost even. Nemeth's 16 metres shot left Enaholo stranded but not the cross bar.
Nine minutes into the second half, Awoniyi made him rue the missed chance with his second goal of the match and his second goal of the tournament.
The energetic starlet received a long assist from Enaholo. He skipped past the defender and rounded goalkeeper Szekely for a finish typical of a modern day striker.
In the 65th minute, Saviour failed to capatilize on a promising break by Bernard Bulbwa as Nigeria pushed for the third.
With the match at home stretch, Nigeria looked sure to win and subsequently book their place in the knockout stages.
Goalkeeper Enaholo was forced into a save with five minutes left on the clock. Hungary pushed forward as they looked to set up a thrilling finish.
Up next for the Flying Eagles is a mouth watering second round clash against Germany U20.
Flying Eagles Starters Vs Hungary U20: Joshua Enaholo, Musa Mohammed (c), Mustapha Abdullahi, Zaharadeen Bello, Wilfred Ndidi, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Idowu Akinjide, Bernard Bulbwa, Kingsley Sokari, Godwin Saviour, Taiwo Awoniyi
: Dele Alampasu, Ojo Olorunleke, Izu Omego, Chidiebere Nwakali, Ifeanyi Matthew, Musa Yahaya, Kelechi Iheanacho, Chidera Ezeh, Isaac Success, Moses Simon