By Felix Onojaiyefe
Nigeria’s Flamingos have qualified for the semifinals of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup after edging USA 4-3 on penalties in Mumbai Friday.
It is the first time Nigeria is reaching the semi-final of the tournament. The furthest they ever went was the quarterfinal. By all standards beating the USA was an upset.
The Falcon’s Head coach, Bankole Olowookere named the same starting eleven that defeated Chile 2-1 in their last group game on Monday in Bhubaneswar.
Nigeria took the lead inside Mumbai’s D Y Patil Sports Stadium in the 26th minute from a penalty kick. Winger Amina Bello was adjudged to have been fouled inside the USA’s box following a VAR review. Right-back Edafe Omamuzo stepped up to coolly convert the penalty kick, giving Nigeria the lead and confidence boost.
The Americans equalized in the 40th minute through a strike from Amalia Villarreal, although the ball took a heavy deflection off Nigeria’s Comfort Folorunsho before finding its way to the back of the net. The first half ended 1-1. The Americans attacked fiercely to start the second half, but the Flamingos had to put in a lot of defensive effort to repel them. The game went straight to penalties, with neither team able to find a winner in 90 minutes.
Edafe Omamuso scored Nigeria’s final kick to send them to their first ever semifinal in the competition. They will play the winner of Colombia vs Tanzania in the semi-finals on Wednesday, 26 October.

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