By: Gyang Dakwo
In what was a well fought battle, the Super Falcons quest to advance beyond the round of 16- thus making them the first African team to win a world cup knockout match- has ended with a 4-2 loss to England on penalties after playing a goalless 120 minutes.
Right from kickoff Nigeria surprised the footballing world by not sitting back but went all out and dominating from all angles of the pitch to the frustration of the Lionesses.
At the half hour mark, the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Rachel Daly went down in the box when an England free-kick swung in. However, once the referee took a second look on the VAR screen, she deemed that Rasheedat Ajibade did not foul the Aston Villa player.
As the first half went on, England struggled to keep Nigeria’s attack at bay. The Super Falcons had nine attempts on goal, though only one was on target.
The second half was more of the same with Nigeria continuing their attacking poweress, though a bright moment for the Lionesses saw Daly with a free header from a corner in the 76th minute, but Chiamaka Nnadozie made a crucial save to deny her.
England went down to ten players late in normal time after Lauren James stamped on Michelle Alozie after the pair went down, and the call went Nigeria’s way. Initially, the referee gave James a yellow, but after a VAR check at the screen, it was changed to a red
In extra-time, Lucy Bronze shoved Alozie in the box, but with the referee not making a decision, it was not then looked at by VAR.
In the shootout, Georgia Stanway missed the first penalty, but with Desire Oparanozie and Michelle Alozie also missing for Nigeria, it eventually provided Chloe Kelly with the opportunity to win it, keeping her composure to send England through to the next round.