Nigeria U23 began the Suwon International Youth football competition on a losing note after going down 1-0 to South Korea Thursday afternoon.
In the prestigious preparatory tournament ahead of the football event at this summer’s Rio Olympic Games, a second-half goal by defender Choi Kyu-baek handed hosts South Korea a vital win over the Samson Siasia-led side, as Denmark edged Honduras 4-2 in the other fixture.
The Dream team VI, looking to repeat the heroics of the 1996 gold medal-winning side, started the game on the front foot with strikers Taiwo Awoniyi and Ubong Ekpai missing a hosts of opportunities.
Nigeria came closest in the 55th minute with Erhun Obanor’s right-footed shot rattling the crossbar, while the Koreans bounced back eight minutes later with a flurry of attacks that were repelled by the solid Nigeria backline.
And with the game petering out for a draw, Choi Kyu-baek popped up with the winning goal in the 85th minute. Nigeria struggled but failed to level the tie in the dying stages.
Nigeria next take on Denmark on Saturday while the hosts tackle Honduras.