Nigeria’s Flamingos won the bronze medal match at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India after a thrilling encounter against Germany ended with the Nigerians claiming a 3-2 penalty shootout win. The Nigerians because the first African side to win a medal at the age-grade tournament.
Having lost on penalties to Colombia in the semifinals rather disappointingly, the Nigerians had a second chance in the third-place playoff. They were up against the German side that defeated them 2-1 in their opener in Goa.
Nigeria went in front after 20 minutes as explosive striker Opeyemi Ajakaye showcased her array of talents to burst past a defender before squeezing an effort past the goalkeeper from a tight angle.
The Nigerians were saved by the VAR check after Germany saw an effort chalked off for offside before another ambitious effort came back off the crossbar. The Flamingos lost influential defender Comfort Folorunsho to a first-half injury after a collision with goalkeeper Faith Omilana. The Nigerians managed to stave off several dangerous attacks from the Germans to end the first half in possession of a one-goal lead.
Nigeria doubled their advantage a few minutes into the second half after a corner from Miracle Usani was guided into the corner by the impressive Amina Bello after 48 minutes of the encounter.
The Flamingos made it three in impressive fashion as substitute Edidiong Etim fired home from close range after a corner from Tumininu Adeshina fell at her feet in the 63rd minute.
Germany started their comeback through captain Jella Veit in the 73rd minute as she headed the ball into the back of the net following a free-kick delivery. They soon cut the Nigerians’ lead to one in the 88th minute as Paulina Platiner fired home from close range. They secured a 90th-minute equaliser and sent the game to penalties in style as substitute Loreen Bender scored a brilliant overhead kick from close range after an initial shot from range had come back off the crossbar.
Facing her first shootout, Faith Omilana saw two efforts fly past the post before saving one. The Nigerians scored through Blessing Sunday, Etim and Ajakaye, with only Adeshina seeing her kick saved.
The Flamingos claimed a deserved win over their German opponents to exact revenge over the Europeans and emerge with the bronze medal from the tournament in Mumbai.