FIFA U-20 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
Duro Ikhazuagbe with agency report
Rasheedat Ajibade’s first-half penalty kick on Thursday afternoon was enough to see Nigeria’s Falconets edge Haiti 1-0 in Group D at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 to secure a crucial three points, keeping their knockout round qualification hopes alive.
The Falconets needed a win badly to keep their hopes of a qualification to the knockout stage alive after losing their opening game 1-0 to Germany.
But stand-in Captain, Ajibade, netted from the penalty spot after Anam Imo was fouled in the box in the 36th minute of the encounter to give Nigeria any hope of progressing to the quarter finals.
Just before the end of the first period, Ajibade sent a brilliant pass to Anam Imo but the latter could not connect for a tap-in, and the half ended with the Falconets still one goal ahead.
The Haitians improved at the beginning of the second half but were contained by the Falconets who were hell bent on getting all three points at stake.
Just as she did in the first match against Germany which the Falconets were unlucky to lose by the odd goal, goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie saved the blushes of the Falconets time and time again whenever they were caught napping at the back.
The 2010 and 2014 silver medalists are now second on the Group D table with three points from two games and have China, losers against table –toppers Germany on Thursday, to confront in the final group game on Monday in Dinan/Léhon.
Earlier, it was Germany’s 2-0 defeat of China that gifted the Nigerian Under-20 team to have any hope of progressing to the quarter-final.
Germany scored a pair of first-half goals as they defeated China PR 2-0 in Saint-Malo on Thursday afternoon.
After an even start to this Group D contest at the Stade de Marville, the Germans broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark. Giulia Gwinn took a through ball from Stefanie Sanders and powered a rising shot home from the right of the China PR box.
The Europeans then doubled their advantage on 40 minutes after China failed to clear a Germany corner. Sophia Kleinherne’s looping ball back into the Asian side’s box found an unmarked Laura Freigang at the far post. Her downward header eluded a diving Huan Xu in the Chinese goal for 2-0.
The Chinese did their best to respond after the break, but only Qiwen Xie went the closest to scoring after striking the post. At the other end, Germany substitute Klara Buhl forced a good save from Xu in the late stages.
The result, combined with Nigeria’s 1-0 win over Haiti later in the day, secured Germany’s spot in the quarter-finals from Group D.