Nigeria’s U-17 female team, the Flamingoes, fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat at the hands of Germany’s U-17 female team in their opener at the ongoing FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Goa, India. The Nigerians let a first-half lead slip to lose to their German counterparts.
After playing two warm-up matches against Galatasaray and Fenerbahce’s senior teams, the Flamingoes commenced their campaign against one of football’s heavyweights in Goa.
Having weathered an early onslaught from the Germans, the Nigerian team found their footing in the clash and came closest to finding the net. Highly-rated forward Opeyemi Ajakaye retrieved the ball after pressing the defenders of the European side before firing a brilliant effort that was only stopped by an equally brilliant fingertip save onto the crossbar from the German goalkeeper.
The Flamingoes went in front on the 30 minute mark as Miracle Usani drilled home a free-kick after captain Alvine Dah Zossu was fouled in front of the German penalty area. The full-back struck the ball low into the corner of the net to give her side the lead.
Germany found their equaliser after a well-worked short corner routine saw influential midfielder Alara Sehitler put a low cross into the cross which was met by Svea Stoldt following an unchecked dash across the box in the 49th minute.
After a brief period of ascendancy from the Flamingoes in which Ajakaye squandered a presentable chance from inside the box, the Germans took the lead in the 61st minute. Midfielder Laura Gloning rode a couple of half-hearted challenges in midfield before releasing a pass to Mara Alber in the box to slot a finish beyond Nigeria’s goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Germany held on for an important win against the Nigerians to kick-start their campaign with three points. Nigeria’s Flamingoes will take on New Zealand in their second group game on October 14th after the New Zealanders lost 3-1 to Chile in their own opener.