Golden Eaglets captain Samson Tijani hit a brace as Nigeria opened their 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup campaign with a thrilling come-from-behind 4 – 2 win over Hungary at the Estadio Olympico, Goiania on Saturday.
The five-times record winners of the competition twice had to draw level before scoring two late goals to win the Group B encounter in style.
The victory comes 34 years after Nigeria beat Hungary in the opening game before going on to lift the maiden edition of the tournament in China.
Hungary took the lead inside three minutes through György Komáromi but Nigeria rallied from conceding such an early goal and were back level in the 21st minute after Tijani converted from the spot following a foul on Wisdom Ubani.
Tijani’s equalizer was Nigeria’s 150th goal in the history of the FIFA U17 World Cup.
Parity didn’t last long, however, and Hungary were back in front seven minutes later when Samuel Major took advantage of some lax defending to curl a shot past the despairing dive of Daniel Jinadu in goal for the Golden Eaglets.
A seesaw first half ended with Hungary in front even though Nigeria had bossed possession and were largely untroubled save for a couple of defensive errors which Hungary profited from.
The Golden Eaglets were much improved after the break and the introduction of Akinkunmi Amoo who replaced Monsuru Opeyemi added more bite to the midfield.
The Golden Eaglets were on top for much of the half and their persistence finally paid off when Usman Ibrahim nodded home Sa’id Ibrahim’s 78th minute corner to level matters.
With the winds now firmly in their sails, Nigeria put Hungary under the cosh and took a deserved lead through Oluwatimilehen Adeniyi’s 81st minute header.
It was 4-2 five minutes later when Tijani lashed home a free kick to secure the game and seal a breathless victory for Manu Garba’s side.
In the other match of the opening day, host nation Brazil pounded Canada 4-1 in Brasilia.
Nigeria will go up against Ecuador in their next match on Tuesday at the same venue, with victory certain to take the Eaglets to the Round of 16 ahead of their final Group B encounter with Australia.