After falling to a lopsided defeat to Japan in their opening match at the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India earlier this week it appeared debutants Tanzania would just make up the numbers at the competition. However the second matchup for the Serengeti Girls showed they had other ideas on Saturday with a stunning 2-1 victory over 2012 edition winners France. Tanzania are now firmly in the hunt for a spot in the knockout stages following the win ahead of Tuesday’s matchup against Canada.
The French team had a couple of looks early on that required the intervention of Tanzania goalkeeper Zulfa Makau but the Serengeti Girls provided a surprise opening goal in the 17th minute. Aisha Mnunka’s well driven corner kick bounced through the French penalty area where Diana Mnaly got enough on her first time shot attempt for the ball to sneak past French keeper Féerine Belhadj for Tanzania’s first ever goal at the competition. Tanzania had a golden opportunity to double the lead before halftime after the Video Assistant Referee awarded a penalty kick but Koku Kipanga sent her spot kick into orbit and over Belhadj’s goal.
There would be another chance from the spot for the Tanzanian side around the hour mark when a French player handled the ball just inside the corner of her penalty area. This time there would be no mistake as center back Christer Bahera placed her penalty perfectly into the top corner to double Tanzania’s lead.
France would benefit from the VAR later on in the second half when Bahera was late on a challenge in her penalty area, allowing France to cut the deficit in half with Lucie Calba’s penalty conversion in the 78th minute. However it would be Tanzania’s day as they were able to hold off the French charge to secure three points despite going down to ten women in the 89th minute when Joyce Lema received a second yellow card.
Extended highlights from the clash are below.