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Nigeria's youth soccer team continued its run towards defense of its Under-17 World Cup title, with a comprehensive victory over New Zealand. Elsewhere, Burkina Faso was knocked out of the competition.
The crowd that flocked to National Stadium in Abuja Thursday night hoping to see host Nigeria take the next step towards a second consecutive under-17 world title was not disappointed, as the Golden Eaglets rolled to a 5-0 win over New Zealand.
The hosts got off to a fast start, with Edafe Egbedi scoring two first half goals, and Stanley Okoro adding another, to give Nigeria a comfortable three goal lead at halftime.
Nigeria coach John Obuh said his team was ready to go from the opening whistle on this night. "We know from the beginning that the games have not been easy, but one thing about the team, they go from one step to another on a gradual process. The team played today. Actually we were really up for it. It was a good day," he said.
In the second half, substitute Sani Emmanuel added two more goals within a span of five minutes, wrapping up the scoring with eleven minutes to play for the rampant Nigerians. The hosts looked like they could have scored more, but eased off on the Kiwis, who were playing in their first-ever knockout round of a FIFA event.
"Look, we went up against a world class team tonight. I firmly believe they would have beaten anybody playing like this," said Stephen Cain, the New Zealand coach.
The host Golden Eaglets are now the only African team remaining in the tournament, after Burkina Faso was eliminated by Spain earlier in the day in Kano, by a score of 4-1.
Nigeria advances to play South Korea, who won on penalty kicks over Mexico in one of the day's other matches. That match will take place in the southern city of Calabar.