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FALCONETS IN WINNING START BEATS FRANCE 1-0 IN FIFA U20 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

Nigeria’s U20 women national team got off to a winning start at the 10th FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica with a 1-0 defeat of Europe’s representative France in Group C match opener.

The Falconets had started the match with brilliant attempts at the opponents half in the early minutes of the first half. A desperate effort by a Falconet striker was headed away from goal in the eight minutes by French Magnaba Folque. Nigeria’s Esther had also an intelligent free- kick barely seven minutes in the first half which sent jittery to the French defenders.

Nigeria continued the push to the opponent half, although the France ladies were excellent in the tactical recovery when the Falconets launched an attack. In the 20th minute the match was suspended due to torrential rain and it lasted for an hour before resumption of the game.

The two time African champion, Nigeria on resumption of play kept up momentum and in the closing minutes of the first half Nigeria’s captain Oluwatosin Demehin was cautioned. The French showed character in soaking the pressure too from Africa’s representative which French defender Kysha Sylla was also cautioned.

The first half ended in a stalemate with no goal from either side!

But at the twilight of the second half Nigeria’s Flourish Sabastine scored a brilliant executed goal having received an assist pass from teammate, the coach Christopher  Danjuma’s led team jubilated.

The 85th minute goal from Africa’s top scorer during the African qualifying series Sabastine was enough to see the Falconets go to the next match with three points. Obviously, Esther Onyenezide was outstanding in midfield for the Nigerian team as she constantly had good control of the ball, laying good passes to the strikers in the opponent half despite the weather conditions in San Jose, the Costa Rica capital.

Nigeria had en-route to the world cup, did scale the African qualifying over Central African Republic, Congo, Cameroon and Senegal, winning six matches with a draw against Cameroon in Doula. Nigeria is in Group C which has Canada, France and Korea in the 16-nation, U20 World Cup. With hosts Costa Rica, Australia and Brazil in Group A. While Germany, who has won the competition three times, is in Group B, others in the group are Colombia, New Zealand and Mexico.  Africa’s other representative Ghana is Group D alongside Japan, Netherlands and three time champions United States of America. 

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