Falconets progress to quarters after holding China

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Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nigeria’s Falconets booked a spot in the quarter-finals of the U20 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in dramatic fashion against China in a 1-1 draw on Monday.

The Nigerians needed to avoid defeat to reach the last eight while the Asians with an outright win will move into second place and go through with better points as both nations were tied on points but the Africans held a superior goal difference.

China did dominate the first 45 minutes and almost got in front when Mengyu Shen’s effort on 25 minutes crashed against the woodwork with Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie well-beaten.

The Falconets pegged back and attempting to contain the pacy Chinese allowed the opponents captain Linlin Wang a chance to head from close range. But Wang’s headed attempt missed target.

China’s pressure paid off on 41 minutes when Linyan Zhang’s individual brilliance put Peter Bonde’s side a goal ahead. Zhang drove past her marker before smashing the ball beyond Nnadozie.

It was a deserved lead which the Chinese took into the locker room, leaving the Africans with a mountain to climb as they bid to make out of a difficult Group D.

Christopher Danjuma’s pep talk at the break surely made an impression on his team as they put up an improved performance in the second half.

The Chinese defence and goalkeeper Huan Xu were put under pressure and often passed the test.

The contest swung back and forth until the final seconds in added time when Jiaxing Dou turned in Aishat Bello’s cross into her own net under the challenge of Rasheedat Ajibade to even the scores at 1-1.

The outcome proved enough to see Nigeria through to the quarter-finals which sets up a meeting with Spain as Germany finished top of Group D.

© The Predictor NG

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