Nigeria’s U17 girls have one leg in the final round of the African qualification series for this year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup after a 4-0 defeat of their Egyptian counterparts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Sunday.
Defender Tumininu Adeshina had flashed a shot into the side-netting in the 13th minute before team’s leading scorer Opeyemi Ajakaiye drew applause with a snap shot after chesting the ball outside the eighteen –yard box. But the ball was slightly off target.
Adeshina again shot above target in the 20th minute, before Ajakaiye scored her fourth goal of the qualifiers with an angled shot that beat goalkeeper Habbiba El Taher fair and square in the 28th minute.
Three minutes later, the handful Laila Zaher got the better of the Nigeria defence and forced goalkeeper Faith Omilana into a save, before the ball was cleared from danger.
Nigeria would not relent and forward Omowunmi Bello headed home the second goal in the 39th minute from a corner kick by Tumininu Adeshina.
In the second half, Ajakaiye meandered her way past the Egyptian defence in the 46th minute but Judith Okah just failed to utilize the opportunity. Eight minutes later, defender Miracle Usani found herself with the ball just outside the Egyptian box after everyone had missed from a corner kick, and slammed past goalkeeper El Taher for Nigeria’s third.
In the 62nd minute, Bello again showed immense composure to lift the ball above onrushing El Taher, after she had been brilliantly played-in by the excellent Taiwo Afolabi on a counter-attack.
Bello had two more opportunities to claim a hat-trick but missed narrowly from close range, just as Ajakaiye fluffed a good opportunity with 14 minutes left.
Both teams clash again in Cairo on the last day of this month, with the winner most likely to play Ethiopia in the final round of the series for a ticket to the FIFA World Cup in India. Ethiopia trounced South Africa 3-0 away from home on Saturday.