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Nigeria blanks Saudi Arabia
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 08 - 08 - 2011

Ahmed Musa and Olarenwaju Kayode scored a goal in each half as Nigeria defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0 for its third straight victory at the Under-20 World Cup Saturday.
Both teams had already advanced to the knockout stage, but Nigeria avoided a meeting with Brazil by finishing first in Group D with nine points. Saudi Arabia was second with six points and will have to play the South American champion in the round of 16. Nigeria will meet England.
Musa gave Nigeria the lead with a powerful right-footed shot from the top of the area after a perfect pass by Omoh Ojabu two minutes into first-half stoppage time. Kayode sealed the victory with a goal from inside the area in the 85th, controlling the ball before sending it past Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Sdairy.
Saudi Arabia threatened early and had two great chances from striker Yahya Dagriri. He fired a long-range shot that forced Nigeria keeper Dami Paul to make a difficult diving save to tip the ball wide in the 37th minute, then missed from near the penalty spot when he had only the goalkeeper to beat a minute into first-half injury time, just before Nigeria's goal.
The knockout stage of the Under-20 World Cup was also set Saturday with three teams — Ecuador, Costa Rica and Guatemala — completing the field for the round of 16.
Ecuador defeated Costa Rica 3-0 to grab second place in Group C. Costa Rica also advanced as one of the best four third-place teams. The top two in each of the six groups advance automatically.
In another Group C game, Spain demolished Australia 5-1 to finish atop the group with a perfect record.
Guatemala beat Croatia 1-0 to finish third in Group D, advancing as one of the best third-place teams. In another Group D match, Nigeria downed Saudi Arabia 2-0 to finish on top. Saudi Arabia was second.
Play in the knockout stage is set for Tuesday and Wednesday with the following pairings: Cameroon vs. Mexico, Portugal vs. Guatemala, Colombia vs. Costa Rica, Argentina vs. Egypt, Nigeria vs. England, Spain vs. South Korea, Brazil vs. Saudi Arabia, France vs. Ecuador.
Spain, Nigeria, Brazil and Argentina go in as favorites, with host Colombia expected to contend. Argentina has won this event a record six times, and has won five of the last eight.
Brazil has won it four times and was runner-up to Ghana two years ago.
Host Colombia won its first three group matches and has the advantage of playing at home with most of the venues at altitude, including Bogota at 2,600 meters (8,600 feet).
England advanced despite drawing its three group matches by the same scores — 0-0. The English are fielding a weakened team with at least 30 players who were eligible kept away from the tournament by early training with their English clubs.


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