Amuneke: It’ll Be Interesting Defending World Title Against Mali

Nigeria's U-17 , Golden Eaglets coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, is delighted his young team qualified for the final of the  FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, thanks to a nervy cracking 4-2 victory against Mexico at the Ester Roa stadium in Concepcion early Friday morning.

Amuneke also relishes the all African final against the reigning African champions Mali on Sunday, and admits that defending the FIFA U17 World Cup in such a circumstance is  going to be an interesting challenge.

"It was a difficult match in which both teams did their best. We give credit to Mexico because of their performance and its level of play," Amuneke, a onetime Barcelona winger starts in his post match interview with FIFA.com.

"We are happy to be in the final and have the chance to defend the world title. Mali is a good team, Africa's champion. This is going to be an interesting challenge."

Kevin Magana gave the Mexicans an early lead in the eighth minute but Eaglets skipper, Kelechi Nwakali, powered home a stunning free-kick to level scores in the 35th minute.

Orji Okwonkwo doubled the Eaglets’ lead two minutes before the break but Diego Cortes's solo effort  restored parity for Mario Arteaga's side in the 52nd minute.

Osinachi Ebere and Victor Osimhen's late record-equalling penalty saw the Golden Eaglets into an all-African final against Mali.

 Mexico coach, Arteaga blamed his side's inabilty to take their chances in the encounter.

"We know that it would be a tough game, the toughest game in this World Cup. Both teams had chances. 

"Unfortunately, we didn’t score, Nigeria did. This was the difference. But that is football. After our equaliser we thought we controlled the game but then Nigeria scored surprisingly. 

"We wanted to reach the final but we failed. Of course the team is sad but we have to focus now on the third place match." 

 

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