Germany looked well on their way to hiding hosts and holders Nigeria in Abuja in Saturday's late match from Group A of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, roaring to a 3-0 lead inside 53 minutes. The Golden Eaglets had other ideas, though, scoring three times in seven second-half minutes against the ten-man European champions to salvage a point when all seemed well and truly lost.
The Germans stormed forward early on the water-logged pitch, signalling their steely intent with Lennart Thy slamming off the woodwork inside ten minutes. It didn't take the Werder Bremen forward long to get his shooting sights aligned, however, heading home from a brilliant Mario Goetze cross after 21 minutes.
The hosts responded with some speedy play from deep positions, but their long-range shots - though powerful - were tinged with a bit of desperation. Mahammed Aliyu had the best chance for Nigeria, but after some jinking improvisation inside the penalty area, he was denied at full stretch by German keeper Dami Paul. Up the other end, the European champions were carving out openings on the wings seemingly at will and tormenting the Golden Eaglets with inch-perfect crosses. Shortly after Florian Trinks went close, Shkodran Mustafi doubled the lead with a cool side-footed finish from a corner kick some six minutes from the interval.
The Germans came out in the second half hungry for more, and usual provider Goetze turned scorer two minutes after the break with a peerless header from the edge of the box to make it 3-0. The big turning point came just five minutes later, though, when Robert Labus hauled down Omoh Ojabu in the area, conceding a penalty and receiving his marching orders for the professional foul. Stanley Okoro stepped up and slammed home from the spot after a cheeky stutter-step, sparking an almighty fight-back that will have the home fans who left at the half cursing themselves. Kenneth Omeruo eluded his marker and nodded home a corner kick in the 59th minute and then Edafe Egbedi volleyed home a deflected shot in the 61st minute to cap a seven-minute three-goal explosion by the Golden Eaglets.
The Nigerians, back at 3-3, looked like shading the result, with Terry Envoh hammering against the crossbar in the dying moments, but the Germans - who also had a decent late chance to steal full points - held firm to salvage one. Argentina now lead Group A after one full matchday, with Nigeria and Germany tangled for second. Honduras are in the basement with zero points after losing the early game to the Albiceleste.