- Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades bore witness to a gripping encounter on Sunday as Nigeria's hopes of lifting the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup were dashed by South Korea. The Flying Eagles, despite their valiant efforts, fell 1-0 in a hard-fought quarterfinal match.
The contest remained deadlocked during regular time, devoid of any goal-scoring heroics.
Both teams, cautious of conceding an early advantage, played a conservative game in the opening half.
While the intensity was palpable, Nigeria emerged as the slightly superior side.
There was little cutting-edge quality in attack, though. And despite their industry and hard work, the African representatives managed to test the Korean goalkeeper only once throughout the opening half.
The second half brought little change, as the South Koreans continued to exhibit defensive fortitude while Nigeria displayed unwavering determination.
Opportunities to seize the advantage were few, leaving both goalkeepers largely untroubled until the end of regulation time.
However, five minutes into extra time, South Korea shattered the deadlock. A well-executed corner kick provided the opening for Choi Seok-Hyun, who expertly guided his header into the net, sending the Korean supporters into euphoria.
Trailing behind, the Flying Eagles were stung into action, launching a furious assault on their opponents. They threw everything at the Korean defense in a desperate attempt to salvage their dreams. Nevertheless, the Koreans exhibited unwavering resolve, constructing a formidable barrier that proved impervious to Nigeria's endeavours.
Emmanuel Umeh, in the dying moments of the match, had two golden opportunities to clinch a deserving equalizer for Nigeria.
However, luck was not on his side as the net eluded his efforts. With a heavy heart, the Flying Eagles bid farewell to the U20 World Cup at the quarterfinal stage once more.