Golden Eaglets reach the final
Goals from Macauley Chrisantus, Yakubu Alfa, and Kabiru Akinsola helped Nigeria seal a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Germany at Suwon Sports Complex on Thursday and earn a place in Sunday's Final against Spain in Seoul FIFA World Cup Stadium.
Nigeria coach Yemi Tella rang two changes to the side that defeated Argentina 2-0 on Sunday, with defenders Usman Amodu and Daniel Joshua given their third chance to play in this tournament, while Germany boss Heiko Herrlich opted to start with his best eleven who scored four goals against England in the quarter-final.
With the rain coming to a stop an hour prior to the kick-off, it was the Germans who took the initiative on the slick pitch. In the 4th minute, Sascha Bigalke rounded three defenders on the left before unleashing a low shot from the centre of the area which was easily saved by Oladele Ajiboye.
That proved to be a rude awakening for the Golden Eaglets. Lukman Haruna's fierce free-kick from 30 metres was tipped away by Rene Vollath three minutes later, but the German goalkeeper failed to clear Yakubu Alfa's ferocious volley in the 10th minute, and Macauley Chrisantus intercepted the loose ball to fire home his seventh goal of the tournament.
Despite their captain Haruna being replaced by Ademola Rafeal due to an injury in the 16th minute, the Golden Eaglets kept up the pressure and doubled their lead just two minutes later. Yakubu Alfa's 20-metre effort sailed through Vollath's hands into the top left-hand corner of the net.
As if the two-goal lead was not enough, the Nigerians kept on pushing forward. Substitute Rafeal fed Ganiyu Oseni in the box, but this time Vollath managed to block the defender's shot from close range.
The Germans fought back on the half-hour mark. Mario Erb's header from a Bigalke corner went just over the bar, but it was skipper Toni Kroos who pulled one back three minutes later. He received a neat pass from Richard Sukuta-Pasu in midfield, before scoring his fourth goal of the competition with a clinical finish.
The game was wide open thereafter. Sukuta-Pasu's glancing header was denied by the right post in the 38th minute, and moments later, Chrisantus missed a chance to restore the two-goal cushion with only the goalkeeper to beat.
The second half began in similar fashion. Despite enjoying more possession of the ball, the Germans struggled to find a breakthrough, while the Nigerians still looked dangerous on counter-attacks.
In the 69th minute, Oseni broke through two defenders before unleashing a powerful shot straight into the arms of Vollath. Kroos then tested Ajiboye with a couple of free-kicks ten minutes later, but the Nigeria goalkeeper did well to block the shots on both occasions.
Germany coach Herrlich brought in forward Alexander Esswein to replace Sebastian Rudy with seven minutes remaining, but it was substitute Kabiru Akinsola who sealed the match in Nigeria's favour with a superb lob in the closing seconds.