Tychy: Qatar's 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland got off to a losing start as Nigeria beat the West Asians 4-0 in their opening Group D match at the Tychy Stadium on Friday.
The Flying Eagles, runners-up to a Joao Pinto-propelled Portugal in 1989 and a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina in 2005, soared 2-0 up inside 25 minutes – and both goals were indebted to their left-back.
Ikouwem Utin duped his marker and unleashed a swerving shot, which Shehab Mamdouh could only push into the path of Maxwell Effiom, whose first-time volley broke the deadlock in the 12th minute.
The Nigeria No 3 then somehow sprung four challenges down the left and cut the ball back to present Okechukwa Offia with a comfortable finish from close range in the 24th minute.
Qatar did have their chances. Zulkifilu Rabiu catapulted himself across the Tychy turf to make an outstanding block from Yusuf Abdurisag, and Nigeria goalkeeper Olawale Oremade was alert to break up a three-on-one break from which Qatar should have made more.
They were further punished, Manchester City midfielder Tom Dele-Bashiru making it 3-0 in the 68th minute before Aliu Salawudeen’s swivel and shot in the 74th completed the win.
The teams return to action on Monday, when Qatar face Ukraine and Nigeria encounter USA. Ukraine edged the USA 2-1 in their match on Friday.
Korea Republic and reigning AFC U-19 Championship champions Saudi Arabia open their respective campaigns on Saturday.
Korea Republic will face two-time winners Portugal in Group F while Saudi Arabia will face 2013 champions France in Group E.
Japan, meanwhile, fought back from a goal down to hold South American champions Ecuador 1-1 in their Group B tie on Thursday.
Up next for Japan will be Mexico on Sunday, while Ecuador will play Group B leaders Italy on the same day. The Italians edged Mexico 2-1 on Thursday.
Sources: FIFA.com, FIFA via Getty Images