NIGERIA’s Flamingoes on Saturday at the King Abdullah II International Stadium, Amman, lost 0-1 to the young Samba girls from Brazil, in a group C opening game of the fifth FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan.
It was the first time Nigeria had lost its opening game of the global competition which was introduced in 2008.
The Flamingoes wasted a couple of scoring chances especially in the first half which could have given them at least a point.
A pullout from Mary-Ann Ezenagu from the right flank was wasted as the effort could not be connected by either captain Rasheedat Ajibade or Folashade Ijamilusi with goalkeeper Kemelli already displaced.
Seven minutes on, a through pass set Ajibade on, but her low drive was pushed away for a corner kick. The corner kick was connected by Christy Ucheibe’s but Kemelli again pushed it away for another corner kick to be taken.
The Brazilians wasted a gilt-edged chance to take the lead in the 40th minute when a close range effort was brilliantly cuddled by the Flamingoes keeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie.
The match winner came for the Brazilians in the 41st minute as Nnadozie’s clearance after beating Ana Votira to the ball, located an unmarked Micaelly who lobbed the ball over Kenneth Christine and her team-mate into the yawning net.
The Africans who had featured in all the World Cup finals since 2008, will on Tuesday face England in their second group game.
Meanwhile, coach Nikyu Bala while speaking during the post-match conference said his team lost to stage fright.
“Because of the name that Brazil has in football, I think my players were frightened and didn’t settle to play the way we know they can. Against another team, I’m sure they would have relaxed more and played better.
“But the first match in any competition is always difficult. We have played and lost and I see no point in being too hard on my goalkeeper and defence. My focus will be on getting ready and making preparations for our next match,” Nikyu told FIFA.com.
The coach of Brazil, Luizao said the victory is a boost for his players in the competition.
“I always had high expectations for this match even though Nigeria are a great team. I trust in my team and we have been working for three years together, improving all the time. To win against a team like Nigeria is a great achievement.
“They attacked us strongly towards the end of the match but my defence handled the high balls very well and my goalkeeper also played well. The result makes us pretty proud and we were all very happy in the dressing room there. It will also increase our confidence for the tough matches ahead,” he said.