The Nigerian U-20 women’s team got off to a winning start in the 10th FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica on Friday morning as they battled to a 1-0 victory over France in their first Group C match, newslodge reports.
The Falconets, two-time runners-up in the competition, overcame torrential rain, an hour’s delay and more rain to defeat Europe’s best team, France, 1-0 in their group opener.
Flourish Sabastine, the Falconets’ top scorer in the African qualifying series, was the hero against France, as her lone 85th-minute strike was enough to earn Chris Danjuma’s side the maximum three points on offer.
Weather conditions in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, prevented the fluid football that was the hallmark of both the Falconets and their French opponents.
Of course, Esther Onyenezide, who operates from the center of the Falconets field, still caused panic in the vital area of ​​​​the French team with an intelligent free kick just seven minutes into the game.
With the rain still pouring down, Mexican referee Francia Gonzales opted to stop the game in the 20th minute as visibility was becoming increasingly impossible for both teams.
The suspension lasted exactly one hour.
Eight minutes after the restart, Magnaba Folquet had to desperately head the ball away from goal as Nigeria advanced.
Two minutes after the first half ended, however, Nigeria captain Oluwatosin Demehin and France defender Kysha Sylla were booked, a measure of the intensity of the battle.
Second half
In the second half, both teams fought even more. Two minutes before the hour mark, Mercy Idoko failed to connect properly at the end of a sweet team move, and 20 minutes from time goalkeeper Oyono Omini provided a critical block in the vital area as France went ahead.
In the 72nd minute, substitute Chiamaka Okwuchukwu was unable to get anything positive when Flourish Sabastine sent a cross into the vital French area.
The game flowed from end to end as both teams attacked enthusiastically and defended resolutely.
Substitute Jade Nassi thought she had put France ahead when she scored the goal from a goalmouth melee that followed an 80th-minute corner kick, but referee Gonzales consulted the video assistant referee, who ruled out correctly the shot for a foul on Omini.
Five minutes later, Nigeria got the goal their effort and enterprise deserved when Flourish Sabastine raced into a brilliant pass from Mercy Idoko, kept her composure and dribbled past goalkeeper Marie-Morgane Sieber with some flourish.
The next game for the Falconets is on Sunday against the Republic of Korea at the Alajuela Morera Soto Stadium. Victory in that game will automatically secure Nigeria a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

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