The West Africans had to do it the hard way, but they grabbed the three points at stake at the end
Nigeria’s Flying Eagles came from behind to secure a decent 2-1 victory over the Dominican Republic at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza to start the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup adventure on a winning note.
Two-time finalists at this tournament, the Flying Eagles were the clear favourites to cruise to victory over a Dominican Republic side making their debut at the World Youth Championships.
But it was the CONCACAF representatives who drew first blood in Argentina when Edison Azcona converted from the spot kick in the 23rd minute.
The Flying Eagles responded well to going behind, and they were back on levelled terms eight minutes later after a Nigerian corner kick forced Guillermo Rosario to put through his own goal.
Coach Ladan Bosso’s boys continued to dominate possession, but it was in the final third that they lacked the quality to threaten the Dominican Republic.
That story changed in the 71st minute, though, as Samson Lawal pounced on a defensive error to give the Flying Eagles the lead for the first time on the night.
The Dominican Republic could not stage their own comeback allowing Nigeria to coast to victory and secure three crucial points that put them top of Group D.
Italy and Brazil, the other teams in the group, will go head-to-head tonight in their first match of the tournament.