Nigeria’s Super Falconets on Sunday, 17 August, 2014 qualified for the semi final of the ongoing FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup holding in Canada after they defeated New Zealand 4-1.
Two goals each from Asisat Oshoala and Uchechi Sunday in either half of the quarter final match ensured the coach Peter Dedevbo’s side rolled into the semi finals undefeated.
The Falconets scored another quick goal, just as they did against Korea Republic in the group stage, with Oshoala scoring just 31 seconds into the game, finishing an attack that began from the kick-off.
Ugo Njoku sent in an inch-perfect cross from the right in between two New Zealand defenders, and Oshoala calmly headed home from six yards.
It was the second-fastest goal at the U-20 Women’s World Cup, only bested by team-mate Courtney Dike’s strike 18 seconds into Nigeria’s second group stage game against the South Koreans.
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 Lily Alfeld’s legs. An enthusiastic dancing celebration with Oshoala and her team-mates ensued near the corner flag.
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 flicked on a hopeful long ball, which nearly caught goalkeeper Sandra Chiichii by surprise, but the keeper was ultimately able to get a hand on it.
Alfeld did well to keep the scoreline at 2-0 in the 68th minute when she tipped on to the crossbar an Uchenna Kanu shot that would 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 Sunday, six yards out, blasted home from a corner kick to extend Nigeria’s lead to 3-0.
Rolston at least ensured New Zealand would not crash out of the quarter-final without the consolation of goal, beating her defender to the near post and redirecting Jasmine Pereira’s cross past Chiichii to make it 3-1 after 89 minutes.
In the waning seconds, however, Nigeria restored their three-goal lead when Sunday scored her second goal in six minutes. The lanky Uchechi 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.
Speaking after the match, coach Dedevbo said: “I’m very satisfied with what we achieved, and now I’m ready for North Korea. I know their team, I know their coach, and I want to beat them at all costs.”
For the semi final pairing, Nigeria will play Korea DPR on Wednesday while Germany and France will lock horns in the second match.
It would be recalled that the Falconets played out a draw with Mexico, defeated England and South Korea in the group stage to qualify for the quarter final in Canada.