Five-time champions Nigeria battled back twice to secure a 4-2 win over Hungary in the opening Group B match of the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil on Saturday.
In a repeat of the sides first ever meeting in the championship – the inaugural edition in China 34 years ago – Hungary drew the first blood inside the first three minutes, as Gyorgy Komaromi took full advantage of poor defensive organization to slot past Daniel Jinadu in goal for Nigeria.
The Eaglets, in search of an equalizer, created chance after chance and eventually drew level from the penalty spot after Wisdom Ubani was fouled in the box.
Eaglets captain Samson Tijani sent goalkeeper Kristjan Hegyi the wrong way to bring the sides level.
Tijani’s equalizer was Nigeria’s 150th goal in the history of the FIFA U17 World Cup.
Yet, the Europeans would again take the lead, when Samuel Major placed the ball clinically beyond Jinadu from a counter attack as the Nigerian defence was again caught napping, just before the break.
On resumption of the second half at the Estadio Olimpico in Goiania, the Eaglets took full control, dictating the pace and creating goalscoring opportunities, but poor finishing by Ubani, Samson Tijani, Ibrahim Sa’id and Olakunle Olusegun delayed the turn-around.
The introduction of Akinkunmi Amoo and Ibrahim Jabaar invigorated the Nigerian side, and in the 79th minute, defender Usman Ibrahim was on the alert to head the ball into the net from a corner by Ibrahim Sa’id as keeper Hegyi made a poor job of coming out to claim the ball.
Two minutes later, it was 3-2 after Ibrahim Jabaar’s dazzling run ended with a pull –out from the left that defender Oluwatimilehin Adeniyi headed past Hegyi.
Tijani made the scoreline safe when in the 85thminute, his angled free kick from 23 yards out was deflected by the head of Botond Balogh to wrong foot Hegyi.
Nigeria will go up against Ecuador in their next match on Tuesday at the same venue.