Lagos - Nigeria’s Falconets on Tuesday failed to qualify for the final of the ongoing FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan, after a 2-0 loss to two-time champions, the U.S., at the Tokyo National Stadium.
Goals from Morgan Brian and Kealia Ohai halted the ambition of the Nigerian side who were runners-up at the last edition, two years ago in Germany, and had appeared destined for the 2012 edition’s final match.
The Falconets dominated the game in terms of possession, always keeping the U.S on the retreat, but the failure to take their chances as a result of poor shooting did them in.
The U.S., who will now be going into a third final appearance, will face either holders Germany or hosts, Japan, in the final match.
The match will hold on Saturday at the Tokyo National Stadium, some hours after Nigeria would have played its Third-place match with the loser in the match between Japan and Germany.
Nigeria had a bright and hopeful start to the game, with Francisca Ordega’s seventh minute effort going wide, off the post.
But Brian scored the all-important opening goal after 22 minutes, perfectly directing a header over goalkeeper Ibubeleye Whyte, from Mollie Pathman’s cross from the left.
After the goal, the U.S. dominated play and created several scoring chances in the closing stages of the half, with Nigeria held back, in spite of having dominating overall possession during the opening period.
Desire Oparanozie’s effort was ruled out for offside in the early part of the second half, only for the U.S. to deal a fatal blow on African hopes midway into the half.
Substitute Samantha Mewis pushed a short defenCe-splitting pass through for Ohai to get the better of her opponent and scored, thus handing the Americans the opportunity to win their third title in Saturday’s final.
The Americans had previously won the title in 2002 and 2008, and lost on penalty kicks to Nigeria in the quarter-finals in 2010.