The Golden Eaglets, fuelled by a deafening atmosphere inside Zayed Stadium, brought El Tri down to their knees with an outstanding display to win the tournament for a fourth time
Nigeria made an easy meat of Mexico 3-0 to win the 15th edition of the Fifa U17 World Cup played on Friday evening in Abu Dhabi.
A first half own goal by Erick Aguirre and second half strikes from Kelechi Iheanacho and Musa Muhammed were all the highly-talented Nigerians needed to seal a fourth title on Asian soil.
The Golden Eaglets were in supreme form inside a rasping Stadium, ripping the defending world and Concacaf champions to continue their unbeaten run, and claim the trophy for a record fourth time, alongside their triumphs of 1985, 1993 and 2007.
El Tri dominated the early seconds of the tension-soaked encounter but were unable to near the rock solid Nigeria defence. Samuel Okon made the first attempt at goal in the fourth minute but his shot was not enough to threaten the Mexican goalie.
Few minutes later, Ivan Ochoa forced Dele Alampasu to a brilliant safe after his header was punched for a corner kick by the towering Nigerian goalie. Mexico’s dominance was short-lived after Erick Aguirre’s own put the Garba Manu boys ahead in an attempt to clear away Taiwo Awoniyi’s well laid pass meant for Musa Yahaya.
Mexico launched a comeback but their attacking forays were brought under constant check by the Musa Muhammed anchored defence. Alampasu made another brilliant save midway in the first half after saving Ulises Jaimes’s header off a free-kick taken as a result of Aliyu Abubaker’s foul on Alejandro Diaz.
The Eaglets could have scored more goals but were unlucky as Yahaya’s chance in the 40th minute rattled the cross bar before Awoniyi’s side-netted his chance off a pass from Kelechi Iheanacho.
With less than a minute to the end of the first half, Awoniyi’s bicycle kick was parried by goalkeeper Raul Gudino who was well positioned to clear away the Imperial Academy forward’s attempt after Iheanacho- who was voted the player of the tournament floated a brilliant cross.
Golden Eaglets’ onslaught continued 11 minutes after the restart when Iheanacho put goal past a shell-shocked Mexico, who showed their ineptitude at both ends when captain Musa Muhammed barrage of shots was parried into the way of Nigeria’s no 10 by Gudino.
Though, Raul Gutierrez made all his changes mid-way into the second half, that could not hand his team a glimmer of hope as Golden Eaglets stamped their authority in every departments of the game.
Mexico had a few chances to restore a little pride, but Ochoa’s header from close range went off target.
However, Muhammed sealed the win with less than nine minutes to play courtesy of a well taken free-kick outside the penalty area of the Mexican after Iheanacho was fouled by Teran.
In addition to this, Nigeria holds the record of the most goals in a single U17 World Cup tournament with 26 goals eclipsing the record set by Germany in Mexico 2011.
By Shina Oludare