USA 2-0 Nigeria
Forward Sebastian Soto struck twice for the USA in rainy Bielsko-Bialo Monday night, powering the Stars and Stripes to their first victory at Poland 2019 while handing Nigeria their first defeat.
USA coach Tab Ramos made just one change to the starting XI from his side’s opener against Ukraine, and it paid doubly. First, Soto slipped his marker and nodded home Alex Mendez’s corner-kick service at the far post in the 18th minute, giving the USA a 1-0 lead.
Less than one minute into the second half Soto snuck past the Nigeria defence yet again, doubling his team’s advantage. Chris Gloster played him through beautifully after a marauding run inside from the left-back. Soto then got his feet and hips right, waited for the goalkeeper to collapse and popped the ball into the net with the inside of his right foot.
Nigeria weren’t without their chances, leaving the USA scrambling from a flurry of brilliant individual efforts toward the end of the first half. First, substitute Aniekeme Okon’s ferocious full volley at the top of the area was saved by Brady Scott. That was followed by forward Maxell Effiom’s stinger from outside the right corner of the box which clipped the crossbar a minute later.
In the end the USA were resolute, holding on to greatly lift their chances of advancing from Group D.
Next up (Thursday)
Qatar-USA (20:30 local time)
Ukraine-Nigeria (20:30 local time)
*Norway 0-2 New Zealand*
Gianni Stensness’s second-half screamer put
New Zealand en route to a 2-0 victory over
Norway that sent them into the knockout phase for the third consecutive FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The Junior All Whites had the better of the first half, but their finishing failed to match their exquisite build-up play and when Liberato Cacace did test Julian Lund, the Norway goalkeeper made a smart save.
Lund denied Ben Wain and a Callum McCowatt free-kick shortly after the restart, but was powerless to prevent New Zealand breaking the deadlock in the 71st minute. There appeared minimal danger when the ball fell to Stensness, outside the penalty area, but his thunderbolt flew into the top corner.
The result fell beyond doubt late on. Cacace broke down the left and fed Elijah Just, whose cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by John Kitaloano.
Next up (Thursday)
Honduras-Norway (18:00 local time)
Uruguay-New Zealand (18:00 local time)
Honduras U20 – Uruguay U20 0:2
Qatar U20 – Ukraine U20 0:1
Norway U20 – New Zealand U20 0:2
USA U20 – Nigeria U20 2:0
*By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde*