It needed another late rally by the Golden Eaglets for them to soar past Ecuador 3-2 in tonight’s U17 World Cup Group B clash with Ibrahim Sa’id grabbing a dramatic hat-trick.
Nigeria thus stay top of the group standings on six points from two matches and are all but through to the knockout stage of the tournament in Brazil.
Sa’id was gifted his first goal after five minutes no thanks to a defensive blunder by the South Americans.
But he had to conjure some magic to fire his two other goals – first a curler from the edge of the box after 85 minutes, before he thundered home from inside the goal area four minutes later.
Ecuador had looked like they had won this contest before these heroics when they went in front for the first time on the night after Johan Mina converted a spot kick in the 56th minute.
This was after Charles Etim’s tackle on an opponent inside the box was ruled by VAR as a penalty.
Mina will later in the second half see his powerful shot crash against the crossbar with the Eaglets goalkeeper well beaten.
Finishing let down the Eaglets with the lively striker Olakunle Olusegun failing to score despite all his exertions.
It was an even as well as open and entertaining 45 minutes as both teams went at each other inside Estadio Olympico in Goiania.
The encounter sparked to life after just five minutes when a mistake by Ecuador defender Lopez gifted Sa’id Ibrahim the opening goal for Nigeria.
However, the South Americans pegged back the Africans five minutes later when a shot from the top of the box by an Ecuador striker crashed against the post before it bounced off the back of diving goalkeeper Daniel Jinadu.
Jinadu was credited with an own goal.
Eaglets Starting XI vs Ecuador
16 Daniel Jinadu – 2 Oluwatimilehin Adeniyi 5 Clement Ikenna 3 Charles Etim 6 Ibrahim Usman – 4 Samson Tijani 8 Hamzat Ojediran 15 Monsuru Opeyemi (Ibraheem Jabaar 57) 20 Ibrahim Sa’id – 9 Wisdom Ubani (Akinkunmi Amoo 31) 7 Olakunle Olusegun