FIFA U-17 World Cup: Nigeria maul Iran 4-1 to set up Uruguay tie

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Golden Eaglets
Victorious Eaglets

Three-time champions Nigeria overran their Iranian counterparts 4-1 on Tuesday in Al Ain for a place in the quarter-finals of the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup in the UAE.

The Golden Eaglets had no trouble beating their foes at the Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium with three first half goals for the ticket against 2011 runners-up Uruguay.

The South Americans had earlier in the day beaten Slovakia 4-2 at Ras Al-Khaimah in another Round of 16 match.

But the match is going to be a hard prospect for the Nigerians who will likely be missing two of their best attackers in Kelechi Iheanacho and Success Isaac through injuries.

Nigeria had come out against Iran all guns blazing in the opening seconds, and they took the lead just after 21 minutes.

Musa Yahaya went on an outrageous move to leave his man for dead at the edge of the penalty area, for a low diagonal ball to Samuel Okon, who sliced in from a tight angle.

Two minutes later the Eaglets made it 2-0 after Taiwo Awoniyi, on for the injured Isaac, pulled the ball across the 18-yard line for Iheanacho to score.

It was his fifth goal of the tournament, but also his last action in the game, as he pulled his hamstring shortly after and signaled for a substitute.

Musa Muhammed grabbed a third goal for Nigeria five minutes from the interval, taking advantage of some slack marking to burst into the area and score to make it 3-0.

The second half lacked the total attacking sparkle of the first, but the Nigerians remained in full control.

In the 78th minute, Yahaya dropped his shoulder brilliantly again before firing low into the corner from 25 yards.

Iran managed a consolation goal six minutes from time, when substitute Ali Gholizadeh scored from the edge of the box.

This was after the Nigerian defenders suffered from a bit of understandable complacency.

Nigeria will now face Uruguay on Saturday, Oct. 2 at Sharjah in the last of the quarter-final matches.

In the other quarter-final pairing for Saturday in Sharjah, African champions Cote d’Ivoire who earlier today beat fellow Africans Morocco 2-1 will face Argentina.

The South Americans had also earlier in the day beaten Tunisia 3-1 in Dubai.

The other two quarter-finals will see Brazil taking on defending champions Mexico on Friday in Dubai and Honduras facing Sweden same day in Al Ain City

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