Nigeria’s U-20 girls, Falconets, battled hard but were unable to break the German jinx, as they lost 0-1 to the 2010 and 2014 champions in the opening game of Group D of the FIFA U-20 women’s World Cup in Saint Malo yesterday.
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Stefanie Sanders was gifted acres of space in the six–yard area to slam into the net from a corner kick, even after inspired goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie had made two consecutive saves.
The Falconets, runners-up in 2010 and 2014 and semifinalists in 2012 had their own opportunities to get on the score-sheet, but Anam Imo and Peace Efih were unlucky.
Victory shot the Germans to the top of the Group D table ahead of the clash between Haiti and China.
The Falconets turned out in Nigeria’s new NIKE outfits and fought hard on the turf of Stade de Marville.
Germany pushed hard and relentlessly in the opening half, but could find no breakthrough, as
a brilliant Nnadozie, with defenders Glory Ogbonna, Oluwakemi Famuditi and Sunday Opeyemi, kept things tight at the rear.
Nigeria should have leveled three minutes after the Germans shot ahead, but Peace Efih’s swerving shot rocked the upright with the goal-keeper stranded.
Next up for the Falconets is an encounter with their Haitian counterparts, at the same venue on Thursday, before another explosive encounter with China in Dinan/Léhon on Monday next week.