Nigeria returned to the champions’ podium, repeating its victory of two years ago in the Mundial 2014 tournament last Thursday night.
The African team has been really impressive since the first match, with a great top-scorer, as Magalan Awala scored 19 goals in 6 games and a good defense was led by Peter Emola as goalkeeper.
Mundial opened and closed with the same game and a similar result: The first game was England vs. Nigeria, won by the African side by just a one-goal difference 7-6, while Nigeria took the rematch in the final with a victory by 3-2.
England opened the final with Robert Bradman (GK), Motti Colman (C), Lewis Kaye, Sam Silverberg and Josh Lipman (England Maccabi footballer of 2012). Nick Plotneck, one of England’s top scorers, was injured and the English team was lacking some precision in the penalty box.
The team won against Bolivia in the quarterfinals 6-1 and in the semifinal 3-2 against Israel. On the other side Nigeria won very luckily both quarterfinals and semifinals after penalties.
The first half was very positive for the Nigerians, with dominant possession of the ball and some very nice attacks. Nigeria’s 1-0 lead, scored by Magalan Awala, was an expected result at halftime.
A few minutes into the second half, England’s Josh Lipman organized a very precise counterattack, putting Motti Colman in a perfect position to score from outside the box.
The 1-1 score lasted for five minutes, than the African team scored twice within a few minutes, bringing the final and the cup back to Nigeria. A minute before the final whistle Josh Lipman scored for the final 3-2.
It was a great tournament, played at very high level according to the coaches, with many teams at the same level. The fact that the champions won twice after penalties, and with such a tight score at the final, showed that everything was possible and unpredictable until the very last minute, one of the league organizers said.
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