Dedevbo, Ihezuo lament as Falconets crash out

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Nigeria coach Peter Dedevbo and captain Chiwendu Ihezuo think the Falconets did not   deserve to exit the Papua New Guinea 2016 FIFA Under-20 World Cup at the group stages.

The  Falconets walked off the field with their heads high after beating   Spain 2-1 in their last group fixture  at the PNG Football Stadium in Port Moresby. But the Canada 2014 silver runners-up  crashed out of the tournament as the win failed to  land them in the quarterfinals.

Nigeria needed a victory over Spain in their last Group B match, hoping for Japan’s defeat by Canada in the other group’s fixture to progress in the tournament.

But the Japanese pounded the Canadians 5-0  to lead the group and reached the  quarters  with Spain.

Alba Redondo   put Spain to a swift start after six minutes   with a low shot to Nigeria’s  goalkeeper Onyinyechukwu Okeke’s right-hand side.

But Ihuoma Onyebuchi  grabbed the equaliser  for Nigeria six minutes to  keep the match squared at 1-1 in the first half.  The equaliser came after Charity Reuben nodded down a cross into the box for  Onyebuchi  to fire home.

Yetunde Adeboyejo  failed to convert a clever chance created by  Rasheedat Ajibade as Nigeria went into the offensive after recess. They missed good chances as they pegged the Saniards to their own half while launching a series of dangerous attacks.

However, the efforts paid off in the  72nd  minute   as captain Ihezuo  scored Nigeria’s second goal.

The Falconets  played the final six minutes with 10  players, after Glory Ogbonna picked up a second booking. But  the Nigerians  held on for the three points.

“We had lofty dreams of making it to the final or even going one better than we took our country in Canada  in 2014, but it was not to be. Collectively and individually, we worked towards achieving that goal, but our best could not take us that far,” Dedevbo  was quoted by the NFF’s official website as saying.

Kazakhstan-based Ihezuo said, “I had high hopes for this tournament. I even set a target of six goals for myself, but my dreams have been blown away like dust in the winds.”

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