By Andah John
Nigeria’s Falconets battled from a goal down to humble Canada 3-1 in a Group B game of the Fifa U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea.
Chinaza Uchendu drew Nigeria level before goals from Joy Bokiri and Chinwendu Ihezuo sealed three points for the Falconets.
But the win only lifted them to third in the group, and they have to beat Spain on Sunday to stand a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The 2014 finalists, who had kicked off the tournament with a 6-0 defeat to Japan, needed a win to get back on track.
And the game, which also saw the Canadians seeking their first win after a heavy defeat to Spain, came to life from the outset, with Ihezuo coming close to putting Nigeria in front on 10 minutes.
Canada draw first blood
But the Canadians were the first to go in front. Deanne Rose received a long ball inside the box and found Carle. The Canada No. 10 made no mistake from close range.
The Falconets did not relent, however. They almost capitalised on a mistake on 37 minutes. That happened when Hannah Taylor lost control of the ball in her box, allowing Rasheedat Ajibade time to pounce. But Rylee Foster was on hand to thwart Ajibade’s effort.
Falconets battle back
The Nigerians finally levelled matters just before half-time. This was when Canada’s Bianca St Georges was penalised for handling the ball inside the area. Uchendu then clinically converted from the spot.
Nigeria take the lead
Peter Dedevbo’s side had a second half to remember as Bokini immediately put Nigeria in front.
Ihezuo then increased the lead on 73 minutes when she capitalised on a mistake by goalkeeper Foster and was left with an empty net to slot in.