Their penchant for shipping goals was always going cost them and so it proved as Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets succumbed to a 2-1 loss to Australia on Friday in their final group game at the FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil.
Having made a habit of late rallies and stirring comebacks in both of their previous group matches, the now familiar late Calvary charge failed to materialise against Australia as the Golden Eaglets paid the price for a leaky defence which must surely be cause for concern for Manu Garba and his backroom staff.
Nigeria conceded the first goal for the second time in three games and a third before 15 minutes when Noah Botic breached their defence in the 14th minute to give Australia the lead.
The Golden Eaglets have often given as good as they got in the tournament and were level just seven minutes after Botic’s strike as Peter Olawale restored parity with both teams going in level at the break.
The Golden Eaglets gave away a penalty for the second successive game which was calmly dispatched by Botic in the 54th minute to hand Australia the lead.
A familiar sight in all their games has been Nigeria trailing and pursuing games and eventually turning it around with minutes to spare.
But the attack that has proved hitherto their greatest weapon and bailed them out in the past was blunted on the day as Australia held on for the win.
They finish top of Group B the loss notwithstanding, level on points with Ecuador who defeated Hungary 3-2 in the group’s other game which took place simultaneously.