Nigeria’s Flamingos defeated Germany to clinch a consolatory bronze medal at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.
The match ended 3-3 in regulation time, leading to a penalty shootout. The penalty then ended 3-2 in Nigeria’s favour as the team took revenge for their loss against the Europeans in their opening fixture.
Nigeria began the match in good stead and were rewarded when forward Opeyemi Ajakaye broke her goal drought with her brilliant 20th-minute opener for the Flamingos.
The game stayed that way for the first half but the Nigerians doubled the lead three minutes into the second half of the clash via an Aminat Bello strike.
Coach Olowookere Bankole’s girls then made it three when Etim Edidiong found the back of the net in the 63rd minute.
But the Germans were not done. They scored three goals in the last seventeen minutes of the match to push the game to penalties. It was, however, the Nigerians who smiled at last in the tie that also saw Ajakaye win the Player of the Match prize, her third in the competition.
It was also the third penalty shootout for the Flamingos in the tournament. They lost the semi-final against Colombia after penalties and had earlier defeated the US on penalties to reach that feat.
In six matches, the Nigerians won four and lost two. This was also the first time the West Africans reached the semi-final of the competition.
Sunday’s win makes Nigeria the second African side to have clinched bronze after Ghana won it in 2012.