After their opening duel 2-1 victory against Australia in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Brazil, Ecuador’s coach, Javier Rodríguez, has been having sleepless nights on how to defeat Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets in the second game on Tuesday.
The coach has been trying to map out fresh strategy on how to subdue the never-say-die Nigeria team who rose up from early shock during their game against Hungary to win the match 4-2 on Saturday.
Ecuador’s coach believes that it would be difficult for any team to beat a relentless squad from Nigeria.
Despite conceding the opening goal three minutes into the match, Nigeria were quick to regain control of the tempo on the pitch against Hungary. Captain Samson Tijaniwas fundamental in connecting his side’s attacking moves. He scored Nigeria’s first and final goals: a converted penalty in the 20th minute and a free-kick that took a friendly deflection in the 85th minute. Sandwiched between those were close-range headed goals from Usman Ibrahim (79′) and Oluwatimilehin Adeniyi (81′).
Coach Rodriguez has been on the drawing board, trying to discover the secret weapon of Manu Garba boys who kept their tactics during the pre-tournament event to prove their rating at the event proper in Brazil.
FIFA had told the world that Nigeria cadet side were the team to beat in the tournament while considering the strength of the team coached in the previous events by coach Garba.
But Ecuador is not a side to be pushed aside also, as Nigeria needs to work hard to beat the hard-fighting team to forge ahead in the competition.
Ecuador’s speedy, technical wide players caused problems for Australia from the beginning. Forward Pedro Vite’s barreling run and cross forced the friendly fire in the ninth minute.
Five minutes prior, Erick Plaus’ first-time effort from outside the box ricocheted off a Joeys defender and settled into the back of the net. The Ecuador defense was resolute for almost all of the match, allowing only three shots to hit the target, but nearly lost their advantage in the final minutes.