How Many Minutes Are Actually Played In A Football Game Flying Eagles of Nigeria Create Football History at Saudi Arabia 1989

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Flying Eagles of Nigeria Create Football History at Saudi Arabia 1989

At the 1989 World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria claimed silver after defeating the USSR in the most exciting semi-final ever in FIFA U-20 history.

The Flying Eagles’ first game was against the host country, and they defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1 with midfielder Mutiu Adepoju and striker Christopher Ohenhen scoring the two vital goals for Nigeria. The next game was against Portugal, and it went against the expectations of coach Tunde Disu led by Boys, who were beaten 1-0 by a strong Portuguese side. However, the Flying Eagles were able to secure a ticket to the quarterfinals after securing a 1-1 draw against Czechoslovakia in their last group match. Christopher Ohenhen once again salvaged a point for Nigeria by scoring the decisive equalizer in the 72nd minute of play.

The quarterfinal game saw the Flying Eagles paired with the USSR.

The game was played in Dammam and was later renamed “the miracle of Dammam”.

This was a game that saw Nigeria trailing 4-0 with just minutes left in the decisive quarter-final match. Legendary Oleg Salenko of the USSR was among the scorers in that memorable match. Within the span of 30 minutes, Nigeria came from behind to draw 4-4 and take the game to a penalty shootout. The comeback was kicked off by star player Christopher Ohenhen, who scored a brace on 61 and 75 minutes to bring the score to 4-2 with 15 minutes remaining in regulation. Samuel Elijah, who was later nicknamed ‘Prophet’ Samuel Elijah scored in the 83rd minute of play to cut the score to 4-3, before inspiring captain Nduka Ugbade appeared out of nowhere to level the score 4-4 with a incredible equalizer in the 84th minute. The Russians were stunned beyond their imagination. The match had to go to penalties after the expiration of 90 minutes, and the Nigerians triumphed 5-3, after Mirdjalal Kasimov missed his penalty to bring the game to an anticlimax. It was the biggest comeback in world soccer history to date.

In the semifinals, the Flying Eagles narrowly defeated the USA 2-1 after the game had to go into another overtime with the games tied 1-1 in regulation. Mutiu Adepoju, who later became an integral part of the Nigerian Super Eagles, scored both goals that eliminated the US from the tournament. In goal for the USA on that memorable day was goaltender Kasey Keller, who later became a household name in world soccer.

It was a tired-looking Flying Eagles team that qualified for the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship final, after playing two consecutive games that ended in penalty shootouts. This was to prove decisive as the Águilas Voladoras were beaten 2-0 by Portugal, who had previously beaten them 1-0 in the group stage.

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