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FIFA U-17 WWC: Dream continues for Nigeria after defeating USA in penalties

Nigeria are through to the semifinals of the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India after coming out on top 4-3 in a penalty kick shootout over the United States following a 1-1 draw. Omamuzo Edafe opened the scoring with a first half penalty kick and the United States leveled soon before halftime, but Nigeria held off waves of American attacks for the draw and kept their composure to win on spot kicks. The Flamingos will face the winner from Saturday’s matchup between Colombia and Tanzania.

Following an even opening twenty minutes the Nigerian team caught a bit of a break when Amina Bello was tripped up right on the edge of the American penalty area. The Video Assistant Referee intervened and determined that Bello’s foot was on the outer line of the box, making the foul a penalty kick offense. Edafe sent American goalkeeper Valentina Amaral the wrong way as she rolled her spot kick to the right side for the opening goal.

The USA proceeded to dominate the match in search of an equalizer and nearly leveled in the 35th minute when Lauren Martinho sent a low shot that snuck by Nigeria keeper Faith Omilana and off the post before rolling back to the fortunate shot stopper. Soon after the Americans found their equalizer courtesy of Amelia Villarreal, whose shot was deflected past Omilana after Onyeka Gamero’s surging run and pass set Villarreal up.

Nigeria were forced to defend for most of the second half but the USA could not find a winner despite being constantly on the attack. After ninety minutes were up a penalty kick shootout was needed to determine a winner and Nigeria coach Bankole Olowookere decided to bring on substitute goalkeeper Chikamso Jiwuaku for her first appearance of the competition. Both sides each had one kicker miss their attempt on the first four attempts and Nigeria had another kick saved from Miracle Usani but VAR determined Amaral came off her line early. Tied at three, Jiwuaku came up huge to save the USA’s fifth kick and set up Edafe for the winning penalty as she beat Amaral once again.

Highlights from the match are below including the penalty kick shootout.

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