Nigeria pounce on German flops

SUWON, South Korea - Germany was left to rue goalkeeping errors as Nigeria won 3-1 yesterday to progress to the final of the Under-17 World Cup.

SUWON, South Korea - Germany was left to rue goalkeeping errors as Nigeria won 3-1 yesterday to progress to the final of the Under-17 World Cup.

Nigeria will play Spain in Sunday's final.

The Africans took the lead in the 10th minute when a fierce shot by Yakubu Alfa was only parried by Germany goalkeeper Rene Vollath into the path of Macauley Christanus, who knocked home his seventh goal of the tournament.

Six minutes later, Nigeria lost captain Lukman Haruna to injury, but no sooner had he left the pitch than his side doubled its advantage as Vollath let Alfa's long-range effort slip through his hands.

Germany were enjoying the lion's share of possession but had much less penetration than counterattacking Nigeria.

Still, Germany did pull a goal back in the 33rd minute as Toni Kroos collected a Richard Sukuta-Pasu pass and neatly finished, and five minutes later they almost equalised as Sukuta-Pasu's header hit a post.

Kroos got a couple of free kicks on target in the second half but Germany could not find the levelling goal.

The result was finally sealed in the fourth minute of added time when substitute Kabiru Akinsola seized on an errant pass and lobbed Vollath, who was off his line.

This will be the fifth Under-17 World Cup final for Nigeria, who have a record of two wins and two losses. Spain have twice reached the final, but are chasing their first title.

Spain must do without outstanding playmaker Bojan Krkic, who was sent off after scoring the winning goal against Ghana in Wednesday's semifinal. - Sapa-AP

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