Nigeria beat tournament debutants Haiti 1-0 to boost their chances of advancing to the knockout stages at the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup after Rasheedat Ajibade converted from the spot in the first half of their Group D clash at the Marville Stadium in Saint-Malo, France, on Thursday.
The Falconets lost their opening fixture 1-0 to tournament favourites Germany at the same venue on Monday, and Christopher Danjuma’s women badly needed a win against the Haitians to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the next round.
Nigeria are second in the table behind Germany, who won the 2010 and 2014 editions of the championship at their expense, after picking up three points at Saint-Malo. Germany, who defeated China 2-0 in the other group fixture, have six points. Nigeria and China have three points each while Haiti are pointless.
Neither side carved out any serious goalscoring threat as the encounter kicked off on blistering note.
However, the Falconets got a penalty kick after Haiti centre-back Dougenie Joseph fouled Anam Imo.
Czech centre referee Adamkova Jana pointed to the spot, with FC Robo forward Ajibade sending the ball past Haiti goalkeeper Kerly Theus in the 36th minute.
The Caribbean team went on the offensive after the goal and were only unlucky not to have snatched the equaliser when their star player Nerilia Mondesir hit the upright.
They created more dangerous chances through a series of counterattacks, but Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie made several saves to deny them.
Mondesir and Melchie Dumonay combined to threaten the Nigerian defence as they aimed to leave the pitch with something but Nnadozie and her defenders were equal to the challenge as they held on for the victory.