The final was a rematch of the 6-1 win Nigeria inflicted on the Mexicans in Group F play and sees the Golden Eaglets lay hands on the junior world trophy for the fourth time in their history, one better than South American giants Brazil. When the final whistle went in the UAE capital, fans and players alike rejoiced, fingers pointed to the sky, with what has become the traditional Nigerian celebration of: “yes, yes yes!”
The corner came to nothing for the Mexicans, but Nigeria benefitted greatly by bursting out on a classic counter-attack. Kelechi Iheanacho went flying up the pitch. With just one Mexican defender in position, the No10 Golden Eaglet laid the ball in for Taiwo Awoniyi who then fed it on to Musa Yahaha, who had a little help from Erick Aguirre. The Mexican midfielder mistakenly hit the ball into his own net in an attempt to recover.
With the score 1-0, Musa Muhammed was giving the Mexicans fits with his rampaging runs up the right side. He pinned the opponents back at every opportunity. As the first half pushed toward the interval, the Africans upped their tempo in search of a second goal.
With a quarter-hour to go, Mexico managed to carve out a rare second-half chance, but Ochoa’s header from close-range slipped wide of the post as the holders began to wilt under the ceaseless pressure of the buzzing Nigerians. Muhammed added a third with ten minutes to go, curling a sublime free-kick into the top corner.
Anyone in UAE who had the pleasure to see them will tell you that this Nigerian team were the best on offer. Even a few of the Mexican fans were mumbling “yes, yes, yes” when the final whistle went on Nigeria’s glorious campaign here in UAE.
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