Nigeria’s U-17 girls, Flamingos, were beaten by Colombia on penalties in the semi-finals of the Under-17 Women’s World Cup to extend Africa’s wait for a maiden appearance in the final.
Colombia goalkeeper Luisa Agudelo saved from Comfort Folorunsho to seal a 6-5 win in the shootout after a goalless 90 minutes in Margao, Goa.
Omamuzo Edafe, who clinched the shoot-out victory over the USA in the quarter-finals, had a chance to win it for Nigeria after Colombia forward Yesica Munoz saw her effort saved.
However, Edafe hit the right-hand upright with the West Africans’ fifth attempt.
Colombia netted twice in sudden death before a reluctant Folorunso was denied by Agudelo, and the South Americans will face either Germany or Spain in the final on Sunday.
Nigeria’s Flamingos started brightly but failed to carve out clear opportunities, and Colombia came close to opening the scoring just before the half hour mark when Mary Espitaleta had a powerful long-range free-kick tipped onto the bar.
Opeyemi Ajakaye spurned Nigeria’s best opportunity of the second half, sending her close-range shot straight at Agudelo in the 53rd minute, and Colombia then took control of the game.
Captain Linda Caicedo twice stung the palms of Faith Omilana while Natalia Hernandez, Ana Guzman, Gabriela Rodriguez and Munoz all had efforts saved by the Nigeria goalkeeper.
Omilana was called into action again towards the end to beat away Caicedo’s shot before she was replaced in goal by Chikamso Jiwuaku, who had come on as an injury-time substitute against the USA for the shoot-out.
Appearing at their sixth U17 Women’s World Cup, Nigeria will play Sunday’s third place play-off in a bid to equal the continent’s best finish in the competition.
The Flamingos have reached the quarter-finals three times, but the best performance by an African team at the tournament came when Ghana finished third in 2012 in Azerbaijan.
Debutants Morocco and Tanzania were Africa’s other representatives in India, with the latter – the first ever East African nation to reach the finals – beaten in the last eight by Colombia. – BBC.