Nigeria girls have been knocked out of the 2018 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup after first-half goals from Aitana Bonmati and Patricia Guijarro sealed a 2-1 win for Spain on Thursday in Concarneau.
Despite a much-improved and purposeful second-half showing against the Europeans, which culminated in Peace Efih halving the deficit, the hard-fighting Falconets lacked the extra quality to complete a fightback.
The Falconets were second-best early on in the contest, and duly fell behind to an exquisite Bonmati finish 13 minutes into the game, a strike that beat goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie hands down.
Nigeria continued to live dangerously as the game progressed, and were only saved by the crossbar as Bonmati’s free-kick struck the frame, although replays suggested the ball might have crossed the line.
Nnadozie was quick to rescue her team moments later, sticking out her left foot to deny Claudia Pina in a one-on-one situation.
However, the sustained pressure saw the Spaniards extend their lead in added time, Guijarro with a composed finish to notch her fifth goal of the tournament.
Nigeria came out stronger in the second half and were rewarded for their improved display, Efih tucking into an empty net, following up Rasheedat Ajibade’s parried effort in the 57th minute.
The game failed to produce any further goals, thus resulting in a quarter-final elimination for Nigeria, the fourth time the West Africans have been knocked out at this stage of the competition.
It was the Falconets’ ninth appearance following earlier exits in 2004, 2006 and 2008.