Nigeria is out of the FIFA Confederations tournament in Brazil, losing 3-0 to World Champions Spain today in a Group B match in Fortaleza.
The match was much closer than that scoreline suggests, the confident African champions putting tremendous pressure on Spain for most of the contest.
The Spanish team scored its first goal in the third minute through defender Jordi Alba, who benefitted from a number of clever one-two passes in the Nigeria area as much as a lucky deflection back to him from a Nigerian defender.
Soon after, Nigerian defender Kenneth Omeruo, who was also hurt in the game against Uruguay, suffered another injury and was replaced.
Nigeria gave as much as it got, but it threw away a variety of scoring opportunities, and Spain got its second goal in the 67th minute from substitute striker Fernando Torres with a superb header.
Substitute Nigeria striker Mohammed Gambo, who plays for Kano Pillars in the Nigeria Premier League, had one of the most memorable howlers of the night, missing an open net with goalkeeper Valdez well out of position.
Alba scored his second goal of the match in the 89th minute through a horrible Nigerian defensive error, dribbling around goalkeeper Victor Enyeama to pad the scoreline for Spain, which will now meet Italy in the second semi-final on Thursday.
Uruguay, which defeated Tahiti in the day’s second Group B match to finish second in the group, will meet hosts and winners of Group A, Brazil, in the first semi-final on Wednesday.