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Falconets lose to Spain, out of World Cup

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PHOTO: TWITTER/FIFAWWC

Nigeria’s hope to reach a fourth semi-final in the FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup was dashed by the Spain. The European side defeated the Falconets 2-1 in the quarter-final at the Concarneau with goals from Aitana Bonmati and Patricia Guijarro. Peace Effih’s goal in the 57th minute halved the deficit but Christopher Danjuma’s charges couldn’t rally to grab an equaliser.

After the last gasp win against China saw the Falconets sneak into the knockout rounds, the team was up for it against a fluid and superior Spanish side. Perhaps, there was history to hang on to, Nigeria defeated Spain in the group stage in 2016 in Papua New Guinea.

However, it swiftly turned into a case of revenge in the 13th minute when Guijarro threaded an incisive pass to Aitana Bonmati. Bonmati took the ball in her stride to curl a beautiful left-footed curler from the edge of the box.

The Falconets tried to rev back into the game but goalkeeper Catalina Coll was quick off her line to stop Grace Igboamalu from reaching Rasheedat Ajibade’s cross.

The Spaniards, however, turned on the screw as Danjuma’s side fell into that familiar disjointedness. A moment that best typified the Falconets was when the goalkeeper handled the ball outside the penalty area as she slipped while trying to clear a ball.

Spain could have extended their lead from the resulting free-kick but saw the effort crash against crossbar with goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie well beaten.

Spain eventually scored a second in the first half stoppage time when Barcelona midfielder Patricia Guijarro scored her fifth goal of the tournament.

Danjuma sent on Anam Imo early in the second half in search of a goal but the goal came from another. The subdued Ajibade saw an effort saved by Spain’s goalkeeper in the 57th minute, but the rebound fell kindly for Efih to grab a goal in the 65th minute.

Nigeria couldn’t get another goal as time trickled for Spain to make their first semi-final in the competition. Pedro Lopez’s side will face the winner in the other quarter-final game between France and Korea DPR.


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