Nigeria continued their impressive form at this summer’s U-20 Women World Cup defeating a well organized Mexico to become the first team to advance to the semi-finals.
Mexico, who had 8 starters based in the USA, could have been ahead in the first minute, when Sofia Huerta was put through on goal, however a Nigerian defender managed to get back just in time to foil the Santa Clara University Forward.
Jeered on by their buoyant band of supporters, Nigeria slowly started to dominate the game, coming forward with wave after wave of attack. However, Nigeria was unable to break the deadlock, with forward Oparanozie having their best effort when she smashed a shot against the bar eight minutes before half time.
In the second half the one-way traffic resumed, and Mexico had keeper Cecilia Santiago to thank for keeping them in the game, as she made a whole host of saves. It seemed only a matter of time before the Nigerians would score, but as the game headed into the final minutes of normal time Mexico sprang into life, almost snatching the game in injury time, when the ball looped onto the bar from a corner.
Extra-time became disjointed as both teams began to tire, and clear-cut chances were few and far between, though Mexico did hit the bar from a free kick from midfielder Yamile Franco.
However, just when it seemed the match might have to be settled via a penalty shoot-out Nigeria’s Oparanozie scored, out leaping the Mexican defense to loop a header over Mexico keeper Santiago, to send Nigeria into their second successive FIFA U-20 Women World Cup semi-final.
Should the USA overcome Korea DPR tomorrow they will face Nigeria in the semis for a place in the final.
Nigeria vs Mexico 1:0 a.e.t
Japan vs South Korea
Korean DPR vs USA
Germany vs Norway