Nigeria’s Falconets upset France in the group opener in Costa Rica 2022.

Nigeria's Falconets upset France in the group opener in Costa Rica 2022.

At the 10th FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, which kicked off on Friday morning in Costa Rica, the Nigeria women’s U-20 squad got off to a winning start by battling to a 1-0 win over France in their first Group C encounter. Costa Rica is where the tournament is being held.

The Falconets, the tournament’s two-time runner-up, overcame severe rain, an hour delay due to weather, and more rain to defeat Europe’s top team, France, 1-0 in their group opener. The Falconets have finished second in the tournament twice.

Flourish Sabastine’s lone goal in the 85th minute proved to be the game-winner in the encounter against France, earning Chris Danjuma’s squad all three points. Sabastine led the Falconets in goals scored throughout the African qualification campaign.

The weather in San Jose, which is the capital of Costa Rica, made it difficult to play flowing football, which was a feature of both the Costa Rican Falconets and the French team they were playing.

That despite this, Esther Onyenezide, who plays for the Falconets in the middle of the field, caused chaos in the critical area occupied by the French team with a well-executed free kick just seven minutes into the match.

Francia Gonzales, the Mexican referee, called a stop to the game at the twentieth minute, although the rain was continuing to pour down and vision was becoming more difficult for both teams.

The suspension was in effect for sixty minutes.

Magnaba Folquet had to make a last-ditch effort to deflect the ball away from the goal as Nigeria continued to press their offensive. This happened eight minutes after the play resumed.

Despite this, Nigeria’s captain, Oluwatosin Demehin, and France’s defender, Kysha Sylla, both received yellow cards as the first half concluded. This represents the level of competitiveness.

In the second half, both teams raised their game. Mercy Idoko failed to connect accurately at the end of a fantastic team move two minutes before the hour mark, and goalkeeper Oyono Omini made a crucial save in the crucial area as France pushed forward in the final twenty minutes of the contest.

In the 72nd minute, a cross from Flourish Sabastine was sent into the critical area of the French defense, which prevented the substitution of Chiamaka Okwuchukwu from getting anything constructive done.

Both sides attacked with vigor and defended with determination, which allowed the game to flow smoothly from one half to the next.

Substitute Jade Nassi believed she had put France ahead in the 80th minute when she slid home from a goalmouth brawl following a corner kick, but referee Gonzales checked the Video Assistant Referee, who correctly ruled out the shot for a foul on Omini. Gonzales consulted the VAR, and Nassi’s goal was ruled out.

Five minutes later, Nigeria got the goal that their hard work and initiative merited when Flair Sabastine raced onto a great pass made by Mercy Idoko, maintained her poise, and placed the ball with some flourish beyond goalkeeper Marie-Morgane Sieber.

The Falconets will face the Korea Republic in their next match on Sunday at the Estadio Alajuela Morera Soto. If Nigeria wins the match, they will automatically advance to the tournament’s round of eight.

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