Despite a spirited comeback and a brace from Nigerian captain Abdul Ajagun, fighting from two goals down to level the match, the Africans were unlucky to lose 3-2 to Portugal in their opening Group B 2013 U20 FIFA World Cup match in Turkey on Friday night.
The result sees Portugal at the top of Group B with Nigeria lying in third spot after Korea Republic beat Cuba 2-1 earlier in the day.
The five goal thriller at the Kadir Has Stadium in Kayseri was a joy to watch, but we had to wait a while for the first goal which only arrived on the half hour mark.
Bruma, who scored a brace on the night and the eventual winner, opened Portugal’s account after he was put through on goal by Joao Mario and he made no mistake with a clinical finish, 1-0.
Portugal then doubled their lead four minutes later after the Nigerian shot-stopper palmed a Bruma effort into the path of Aladje who was happy to slot into an open net, 2-0.
The second 45 saw Nigeria mount a comeback led by none other than their inspirational captain, Abdul Ajagun, who pulled a goal back in in the 57th minute as he latched onto a through ball from Olarenwaju Kayode and chipped the onrushing keeper, 2-1.
Ajagun then drew the Flying Eagles level with an even better effort ten minutes later. A deep corner found him all alone in the Portugal penalty area, where he controlled the ball and sublimely curled it into the far corner of the goal, 2-2.
But that was where Nigeria’s comeback was to end as Portugal reclaimed the lead in the 69th minute as Bruma found his second goal of the match with a fine finish from just inside the box, 3-2.
It was a lead Portugal would hang onto despite immense pressure from the Nigerians.