Colombia beat Nigeria 6-5 on penalties in the semifinal of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup to reach its first final here at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday.
Nigeria was one successful spot-kick away from scripting its own fairytale when Colombia shot-stopper Luisa Agudelo denied Omamuzo Edafe to take it into sudden death. Agudelo then sprung to her left to thwart Comfort Folorunsho’s penalty to spark celebrations in the Colombian camp.Draw
The Flamingoes hustled and tussled its way to a nil-nil scoreline at the end of regulation time, thanks to the heroics of its own goalkeeper Faith Omilana, who was sensational under the bar against a rampaging Colombian attack.
Nigeria dominated possession in the early exchanges but could hardly trouble the opposition's goal. Colombia mishit several passes in its aim for quick transitions from defence to attack but only found their composure after the initial spell. The Colombians found plenty of joy down the right flank with Gabriela Rodriguez, who had a goal ruled out for offside, pulling the strings in the middle.
Colombia’s Yesica Munoz, who had her penalty saved in the shootout, was, in particular, wasteful with her finishing. She was found by Gabriela’s low cross in the 26th minute but she couldn’t hit the target from 15 yards out. Early in the second half, she was sent through on goal but stuttered in her run, which allowed Faith to close down her shot.
While Nigeria provided better resistance in the second half, it was again Colombian attackers against Faith in goal. Faith pulled off as many as five saves against Yesica and Linda Caicedo to keep the scores level.
In the 81st minute, Linda had, possibly, the best chance of the night from close range before Faith flew in with a body-on-the-line block to deny her again. She was tactically substituted in the 90th minute for the shootout and could only watch on as her team lost out on sudden death to lose out on a historic place in the final.