Lucky Flamingos see off Germany to clinch World Cup bronze

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The Nigerian U17 Women’s team defeated their German counterpart 4-3 on penalties after a 3-3 draw in regulation time.

It was a historical moment for Bankole Olowookere’s girls as they survived a late scare to finish as the third best team in India.

Having lost to Germany 2-1 in the opening game of the competition, the Flamingoes were intent on making sure it didn’t happen again and unlike the first encounter the girls found their scoring boots and found the net early.

Opeyemi Ajekaye benefited from debutant Chidera Okenwa’s through ball to put Nigeria ahead after 20 minutes of play.

The goal seemed to have awoken the German team as they tried to respond and even though the backline of Nigeria looked suspect at times they pulled together to preserve the 1-0 advantage till the end of the first half.

The second half was more of the same with Germany dominating possession and Nigerian looking dangerous on the counter and four minutes after one of those counters won a corner kick for Nigeria and Amina Bello reacted quickest on the half volley to double Nigerians lead at the start of the second half.

It seemed the Germans were rattled and they also looked vulnerable defending against Nigeria’s set pieces.

They struggle anytime there was a dead ball situation, and the third goal came from another corner as substitute Etim Edidiong headed in the corner to extend Nigeria’s lead just four minutes after her introduction.

The Nigerian defense has been suspect all game and the forced injury to Comfort Folorunsho in the first half weakened the defense a little and the Germans capitalized mercilessly, mounting an unprecedented late comeback to draw the game level.

Jella Veit got the party started for Germany in the 73rd minute, before Paulina Bartz responded with an innovative bicycle kick to put Germany within one in the 85th minute.

The pressure kept mounting as the Germans smelt blood and went all out for the slaughter.

Olowookere girls looked overwhelmed and probably in disbelief as they had no answer to the attacking waves that kept coming from Germany and six minutes after and just a minute into injury time Loreen Bender got the equalizer for Germany and forced the game into penalty shootout.

The penalty shootout was pretty straight forward as Germany lost their second and third spot kicks to hand Nigeria the advantage.

Tumininu Adeshina stepped up to be the hero as her spot kick would have won it for Nigeria,but she failed to beat Eve Boettcher who saved to keep her team in the game.

Yet the shoot out would be decided in Nigeria’s favor and Faith Omilana pulled a spectacular save of her own to put the game beyond Germany and seal third place for the Flamingos.

Generally it was an impressive outing for the team but questions need to be asked of Bankole Olowookere’s in-game management.

The Coach got lucky after his team blew a three-goal lead, a pattern that was an all to common sight in this competition as the Flamingos surrendered the lead twice against Germany, once against USA and failing to score against Colombia throwing away the penalty advantage that would have taken Nigeria to the final.

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