Falconets beat Spain but failed to qualify
Nigeria’s Under-20 female side, the Falconets, on Sunday beat Spain 2-1 in their last Group B match at the FIFA U20 football championship holding in Papua New Guinea.
However, the win did not see the girls to the knock-out round as they bowed out of the competition on superior goal difference.
Spain took the second position behind Japan having five goals advantage in contrast to Nigeria’s minus three goals.
According to FIFA website, the Falconets came from behind to score in the two halves of the match through Ihuoma Onyebuchi and Chinwelu Ihezuo to beat the Europeans.
The Spanish got off to a swift start, with Maria Caldentey sending the ball inside the Nigerian area, touched on by Nahikari Garcia to Alba Redondo who finished with a low shot to goalkeeper Onyinyechukwu Okeke’s right-hand side.
The goal, which came in seventh minute of the match, spurred the Nigerian girls as Charity Reuben nodded down a Nigerian corner, with Onyebuchi finding enough space and time to fire home from inside the penalty area five minutes later.
Nigeria pushed forward in the closing moments of the opening half, but were made to wait for their second goal, which came after the interval.
Nigeria’s winning goal came in 72nd minute of the match following a superb long ball by Rasheedat Abijade which found Ihezuo, who beat the duo of Carmen Menayo and Marta Cazalla in the Spanish defence and sprinted into space, before firing home a left-footed effort.
Nigeria played the final six minutes with 10 players after Glory Ogbonna picked up a second booking, but it mattered little, as Peter Dedevbo’s side held on for the three points.
However, the win, which came after Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Canada, was not enough for the Falconets to secure a move to the next stage of the championship even though they have six points along with Spain and group winners Japan.
Nigeria were whitewashed 0-6 in their opener against Japan on Sunday.