Italy U20 boss Carmine Nunziata expressed his disappointment after his side’s 2-0 loss to the Flying Eagles of Nigeria in their second group game of the ongoing FIFA U20 World Cup. Reflecting on the match, Nunziata admitted that his boys made mistakes and acknowledged the challenge posed by the pace and physicality of the Nigerian team.

“It was a difficult match, especially on a physical level,” Nunziata told the official website of the Italian Football Federation. “Nigeria was going twice as fast as us. We could have made better use of the spaces. Instead, we made a lot of mistakes on a technical level, and in the end, it’s normal to get into trouble as the minutes go by.”

In the cagey first half, both teams remained level, but Nigeria’s goalkeeper Kingsley Aniagboso showcased his skills by making a crucial save just before halftime to deny Italy from taking the lead.

During the 35th minute, Italy had a stroke of luck as a handball incident involving Solomon Agbalaka was overruled due to a previous handball committed by Mattia Zanotti in the earlier move.

However, just past the hour mark, Emmanuel Umeh displayed great awareness by lifting the ball to Salim Fago Lawal, who headed it into the net. Despite Italy’s protests about a foul in the build-up, the goal was awarded, extending Nigeria’s lead. In stoppage time, Jude Sunday demonstrated composure and accuracy, guiding the ball home to seal the win for Nigeria.

“Now we need to regain strength, play a great game against the Dominican Republic, and go through,” Nunziata stated, emphasizing the importance of bouncing back and delivering an impressive performance in their upcoming match.

Nigeria currently leads Group D of the World Cup with maximum points from their opening two games. Their next challenge awaits on Saturday, May 27, as they face Brazil at the Estadio Único Diego Armando Maradona in La Plata.