Nigeria beat Tanzania U-20 girls 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) in the second leg of their 2024 U-20 Women’s World Cup African qualifying series second-round fixture at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, on Sunday to progress to the final round of qualifiers.
Both sides battled to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Dar es Salaam last Sunday.
The Falconets edged their counterparts 2-1 as goals from Janet Akekoromowei and Comfort Folorunsho ensured that Cristopher Danjuma’s girls sail to the final qualification phase.
The 2022 World Cup quarter-finalists, who have never been absent from the global finals, swarmed on the visitors from the first blast of the whistle, but poor marksmanship on the part of former U-17 team striker Opeyemi Ajakaye denied them an early goal.
Akekoromowei eventually put Nigeria in front after 16 minutes, when she rifled home from the edge of the box after an intelligent pass from Taiwo Afolabi.
Five minutes later, the East Africans drew level after goalkeeper Shukura Bakare dropped the ball from an innocuous-looking free-kick 35 yards out and Jamila Mnunduka bundled the ball over the line.
Nigeria would have been ahead in the 25th minute, but defender Shukurat Oladipo’s well-struck free-kick from 40 yards was pushed away by goalkeeper Zulfa Ally Makau.
Ajakaye failed to convert into the net another opportunity in the 33rd minute.
On the hour mark, defender Folorunsho broke the spell of 1-1draws for Nigeria’s national teams in recent weeks, when she leaped highest to head home from Afolabi’s cross after a couple of touches from a corner kick.
The Falconets will now take on Burundi in the final round of qualifiers, to determine one of Africa’s flag bearers at next year’s global championship to be hosted by Colombia.
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