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Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Monday, 28 September 2009 17:31 UK

Wasteful Nigeria go down to Spain

By Matthew Kenyon
BBC Sport, Al Salam Stadium, Cairo

Nigeria coach Samson Siasia
Samson Siasia's Nigeria have lost their opening two games

Nigeria suffered their second defeat of the Under-20 World Cup in Cairo on Monday, when they lost 2-0 to Spain.

Both goals came from the young Arsenal star Fran Merida - one a superb chip, the other a confidently-taken penalty.

For the second game in a row Nigeria were also reduced to 10 men - when substitute Gbolahan Salami was sent off late in the game.

The result means the Flying Eagles will struggle to reach the next round - although that is not yet certain.

Despite the outcome, this was a much improved performance by Nigeria - who started with determination and strength.

Coach Samson Siasia had made five changes to the starting line-up - only one of them enforced by the two-match suspension of Lukman Haruna.

This team were quick to the ball and sharp in possession and should have taken the lead in the first 20 minutes.

Whether Spain had got a false impression of Nigeria's talents from their first game against Venezuela or not, it took the fancied Europeans nearly half an hour to start to get into the match.

But then on 32 minutes a failed Nigerian offside trap allowed Merida through to chip the onrushing Uche Okafor and give Spain a 1-0 lead.

The advantage was almost doubled in the final minute of the first half but Okafor dived full-length to deny Aaron Niguez.

Siasia brought Sone Aluko on at the start of the second half in place of Kehinde Fatai - and he nearly had an instant impact, with a powerful drive parried away by Asenjo.

With 66 minutes on the clock Nigeria had the ball in the net but the goal was ruled out for an apparent shove on one of the Spanish defenders.

The pressure from the Flying Eagles kept on coming - substitute Gbolahan Salami saw one terrific dipping shot cannon away off the crossbar.

But all the hard work failed to produce a goal and with 10 minutes remaining Rabiu Ibrahim brought down Ander Herrera in the Nigerian box and despite vocal protests from the Nigerian team the resulting penalty from Merida doubled the Spanish lead.

In the other Group B game there was another 8-0 drubbing for Tahiti this time at the hands of Venezuela.

Yonathan del Valle and Jose Rondon grabbed hat-tricks for Venezuela with Jose Manuel Velazquez and Oscar Rojas the other scorers.

Tahiti played for more than hour with 10 men after Stephane Faatiarau was sent off in the 26th minute.

The results mean that Spain and Venezuela both have six points and have guaranteed themselves places in the last 16.

Nigeria's only chance of advancing is to beat Tahiti convincingly on Thursday and hope that it is good enough for them to be one of the best four third-placed sides.

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see also
UAE stun SA at U20 World Cup
28 Sep 09 |  African
Cameroon secure a solid start
27 Sep 09 |  African
Ghana gear up for England
27 Sep 09 |  African
Nigeria stunned in opener
25 Sep 09 |  African
Aluko looks to outdo his sister
24 Sep 09 |  African
Egypt off to U20 World Cup flier
24 Sep 09 |  African
Time for Africa to shine
23 Sep 09 |  African
2009 Under-20 World Cup
26 Sep 09 |  African

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