Joeys get to turn the tables
FOUR years after being smashed by eventual champions Nigeria at the FIFA Under 17 World Cup, Australia’s Joeys produced a spirited display to advance to the last 16.
Germany-based Noah Botic continued his stellar tournament with a brace, while Sydney FC keeper Adam Pavlesic held firm in the 2-1 win at Estadio Bezerrao in Brasilia.
It was Australia’s first win against Nigeria (who won the 2013 and ’15 U17 World Cups) at this level in seven attempts.
While the Joeys were under siege early, the front three of Botic, Caleb Watts and Tristan Hammond caused huge issues for Nigeria and combined to open the scoring. Sporting Lisbon’s Hammond beat several players down the left using clever trickery before crossing for well positioned Botic to tap in the opener.
Nigeria’s Ukeme Olawale equalised just eight minutes after the Joeys’ opener but the Joeys kept pushing, knowing a win was necessary to advance to the knockout phase.
Southampton’s Watts won the penalty after a piercing run into the box and a composed Botic stepped up, waited for the keeper to commit before slotting home.