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FIFA U-17 WWC: Nigeria fall at the semifinal stage to Colombia in penalties

Nigeria came just shy of qualifying for the final of the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on Wednesday as the Flamingos fell to Colombia 6-5 on penalty kicks following a 0-0 draw. The semifinal result means that Nigeria will face either Germany or Spain in the Third Place game on Sunday while Colombia will face the winner of Wednesday’s second semifinal. Whether Nigeria loses or wins on Sunday it will be the best result in the Flamingos’ history at the competition.

The match was tightly contested in its early stages with Nigeria having a couple of long range efforts go far off target before Colombia had an excellent look at the Nigerian goal in the 27th minute. However, Yesica Muñoz fired high and wide after being set up by a cross from Gabriela Rodríguez. Later on in the first half Muñoz was well denied by Nigeria goalkeeper Faith Omilana and the Flamingos held on to keep the match scoreless by halftime.

Omilana’s work was not done and she was quickly called back into action early in the second half, saving from Muñoz on a breakaway opportunity in the 49th minute before doing just enough to keep out a long range effort soon after the hour mark. Nigeria managed to hold out despite Colombia’s dominance and backup goalkeeper Chikamso Jiwuaku was once again brought on in the closing stages for her expertise at dealing with penalty kicks when the ninety minutes was complete.

Both teams converted their first two spot kicks without trouble but an opportunity for Nigeria opened up when Jiwuaku saved Muñoz’s attempt on Colombia’s third kick. The teams traded successful attempts until Nigeria had a chance to confirm a place in the final on their fifth kick but Omamuzo Edafe sent her shot off the post and Colombia stayed alive. On Nigeria’s seventh kick Comfort Folorunsho was denied by the Colombian keeper to send her side through.

Highlights from Wednesday’s semifinal are below.

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