The Super Falconets of Nigeria defeated New Zealand in the quater final of the ongoing FIFA U-20 Women World Cup in Canada.
Nigeria started quickly, just as Peter Dedevbo’s side did against Korea Republic in the group stage, and proved to be too strong for New Zealand as Asisat Oshoala’s brace gave the Super Falconets a 4-1 win and passage into the semi-finals of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014.
Oshoala scored just 31 seconds into the game, finishing an attack that began when Nigeria kicked off. Ugo Njoku sent in an inch-perfect cross from the right to find the No4 in between two New Zealand defenders, who calmly headed home from six yards. Oshoala’s opening goal is the second-fastest goal at a U-20 Women’s World Cup, only bested by team-mate Courtney Dike’s strike 18 seconds into Nigeria’s second group stage game.
With the African side clearly in charge, Oshoala doubled Nigeria’s lead 11 minutes later. Chinwendu Ihezuo sent a delightful ball into space, beating four Kiwi defenders with the pass, for Oshoala to chase down. The speedy forward took one touch towards goal and finished through the Lily Alfeld’s legs. An enthusiastic dancing celebration with Oshoala and her team-mates ensued near the corner flag.
New Zealand, who were playing in their first quarter-final at a U-20 Women’s World Cup, looked out of their comfort zone throughout the first half and were never able to trouble the Nigerian backline. After the second goal, Dedevbo’s team quieted down as well as both teams looked to navigate the wet conditions in Moncton.
After that the action quieted down significantly with Nigeria losing their spark and both teams struggling to control possession on a rainy pitch in Moncton. It was much of the same after the break, though Emma Rolston nearly gave New Zealand a way back into the game in the 54th minute. The No14 was strong in the air and flicked on a hopeful long ball, which nearly caught goalkeeper Sandra Chiichii by surprise at the far post, but she was able to get a hand on it.
Alfeld did well to keep the scoreline at 2-0 in the 68th minute when she tipped Uchenna Kanu’s powerful shot off the crossbar that otherwise would have screamed into the roof of the net. There was not much the Kiwi keeper could do, though, six minutes from time when Uchechi Sunday blasted home from six yards off a corner kick to extend Nigeria’s lead to 3-0.
Rolston ensured New Zealand would not crash out of the quarter-final empty-handed and, in the 89th minute, she beat her defender to the near post and redirected Jasmine Pereira’s cross past Chiichii to make it 3-1. In the waning seconds, however, Nigeria restored their three-goal lead when Sunday scored her second goal in six minutes. The pacey No20 dribbled down the left, beat her defender and calmly finished past Anfeld.
Having won three games in a row, Nigeria will enter the semi-finals full of confidence where they will face the Korea DPR, while New Zealand can head home knowing they have gone further at this U-20 Women’s World Cup than any Kiwi side before them.