It was suspense all the way, but the Nigeria Flamingos flamed alive to win the bronze medal of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Mumbai India on Sunday!
A thriller it was as the Africans in a space of 17 minutes lost a three goal advantage as the hard fighting Germans with undying spirits cancelled the three goals, the last coming on the dot of 90 minute.
It then boiled down to another penalty shootout, the process they had once benefited from in the quaterfinals againf US, but worked against them in the semi finals against Colombia.
In the end, they proved to be the side with better nerves as they only lost one of their mandatory five kicks.
The bronze medal is special. It is Nigeria’s first medal in U17 women football. The taks begun with Nigeria escaping from an early goal by the Germans who found the net in the fourth minute, but the goal was annulled as the Video Assistant Referee observed that the Nigerian goalkeeper was fouled before the goal.
Nigeria fought back as Opeyemi Ajakaye in the 19th minute sprinted down the right wing before releasing a shot that beat the Germans.
Nigeria lead 1-0. Aminat Bello scored the second goal for the Flamingos in the 48th minute before Etim Edidiong got the third goal in the 63rd minute.
Then began the great German fight back. In the 73rd minute, Jella Veit nodded home from a corner kick to reduce the tally to 3-1.
Not done yet, they controversially scored a second goal from what looked an offside position. That was in the 85th minute when Paulina Bartz got the best of the Nigerian defence.
Then in the 90th minute, they levelled up through Loreen Bender to take the game into the third penalty shoot-out of the tournament. Significantly, Nigeria are the prime features of all the penalty shootout incidents.