Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets failed to complete a perfect record in the group stage of the Fifa Under-17 World Cup after a 2-1 reversal in the hands of Croatia on Saturday morning.
The Eaglets had earlier won their first two group games beating the United States and hosts Chile to qualify for the next round but fell short against the Croats.
The Europeans started the better of the two sides and tested Akpan Udoh in Nigeria’s goal as the Eaglets defence looked to be in sixes and sevens.
Victor Osimhen had the first real chance of the game when he hit the post after a brilliant Nigerian counter attack lead by Samuel Chukwueze and could not bundle in the rebound.
The Croats also had opportunities through Moro and Loveren who both tested Akpan Udoh but they could not get the go-ahead goal.
Osimhen gave Nigeria the lead against the run of play in the 20th minute after latching on to a through-pass to round up Croatian goalkeeper Adrian Semper and slot into an open net for his fourth goal of the competition.
Two quick-fire goals at the start of the second half gave Croatia a much needed victory and passage into the next round.
Josip Brekalo got Croatia back on level terms in the 50th minute as Croatia continued to pile pressure on the Nigerian defence.
Karlo Majic scored a beauty of a curler four minutes after their leveller after capitalising from a mistake from the Nigerian defenders in the 54th minute to give Croatia the lead.
The Eaglets were not able to get back in the game as the Europeans pegged them pack to earn the three points and passage to the next round.