By Felix Onojaiyefe
Nigeria’s Flamingos have failed to reach the final of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India after losing out to Colombia during penalty shoot-out.
Though the Flamingos dominated the game by having more possession of the ball, the Colombians proved that they were hungrier to get the goals as they came close to breaking the deadlock a couple of times.
In the 26th minute, Muñoz Rojas missed a big chance to put the South Americans in front following a lapse in concentration from Nigeria’s defense. The striker’s shot from inside the box went a few inches off target.
They were back asking more questions of the Nigerian defence three minutes later. This time, a long range free kick from Mary Espitaleta hit the crossbar and Nigeria’s goalkeeper, Faith Omilana was in the right place to save a rebound effort from a Colombian attacker.
Colombia scored just before halftime, but the goal was ruled out for offside. The first half ended goalless.
The second half was more evenly contested, with fewer clear chances, but the Flamingos still had to rely on Faith Omilana’s brilliance to stay in the game. Neither team was able to find a winner, so the game was decided on penalties.
In the ensuing shoot-out the Flamingos scored five penalty kicks and missed two, while the South Americans despite missing one earlier, netted six of their kicks.
Nigeria had on Friday beat USA 4-3 on penalty in the first quarter-final match to book a ticket for the semi-final match.
It was the first time Nigeria’s Flamingos reached the semi-final stage since they started participating in the World Cup, and the first African team to do so. While Colombia defeated Tanzania 3-0 in the second quarter-finals.
For the first time in history, a Colombian soccer team in any category advances to the final of a world championship.
Nigeria will now play against Spain or Germany in a battle for 3rd spot of the tournament on Sunday.

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