Nigeria’s Falconets saw off Spain 2-1 at the PNG Football Stadium in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on Sunday to finish their FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2016 campaign with a victory.
The Nigerian girls came from behind thanks to a goal in each half from Ihuoma Onyebuchi and Chinwendu Ihezuo, after Alba Redondo had given the European side the lead.
Pedro Lopez’s side progress to the knockout stages, but in second place, after Japan’s dismantling of Canada.
The Spaniards got off to a swift start, with Maria Caldentey sending a ball inside the area, touched on by Nahikari Garcia to Redondo who finished with a low shot to goalkeeper Onyinyechukwu Okeke’s right-hand side.
The Port Moresby crowd did not need to wait for long to see the Nigerians bounce back, with Spain conceding their first goal after over three hours of football in Papua New Guinea.
Charity Reuben nodded down a Nigerian corner, with Onyebuchi finding enough space and time to fire home from inside the penalty area.
Nigeria pushed forwards in the closing moments of the opening half, but were made to wait for their second goal, which came after the interval.
Rasheedat Ajibade hit a superb long ball towards Ihezuo, with the No 9 met by Carmen Menayo and Marta Cazalla in the Spanish defence. The Nigeria forward nodded the ball past the defenders and sprinted into space, before firing home a left-footed effort.
The African side played the final six minutes with ten players, after Glory Ogbonna picked up a second booking, but it mattered little, as Peter Dedevbo’s side held on for the three points.
That second win on the bounce for the Nigerians was not enough to progress, or indeed stop Spain going through, but was enough to stop the Spaniards topping Group B, with Japan winning the pool.
The trio of Nigeria, Spain and Japan all have the same six points, but the Nigerians failed to qualify for the knockout stage because of its big loss of 0-6 to Japan in the opening game.