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England thrive over Nigeria:Lionesses overcome James red

England beat Nigeria on 4-2 PENALTIES WWW.GLOKAFUI.COM

Chloe Kelly added another memorable moment to her Lionesses career as her spot-kick secured 10-woman England a place in the World Cup quarter-finals after a dramatic shootout with Nigeria in Brisbane.

It was not all elation for England, however, after Lauren James was shown a straight red card for a stamp on Michelle Alozie following a VAR review late in the second half that could see her banned for the remainder of this tournament.

Midfielder Keira Walsh returned for the first time since she was carried off the pitch on a stretcher in England’s 1-0 group-stage victory against Denmark and played 120 minutes of a dramatic contest.

England were far from their best and were lucky not to exit the tournament in 90 minutes, but dug deep to ensure the match finished goalless after extra time, with Euro 2022 hero Kelly firing in the decisive penalty.

The European champions largely remained camped inside Nigeria’s half for the first 10 minutes, before the Super Falcons began to build momentum.

Georgia Stanway’s stumble led to their first real chance as Uchenna Kanu directed a header at the England goal but was blocked at the last by Millie Bright’s clearance.

England beat Nigeria on  4-2 PENALTIES   WWW.GLOKAFUI.COM
England beat Nigeria on 4-2 PENALTIES WWW.GLOKAFUI.COM

Randy Waldrum’s side threatened again as former England youth international Ashleigh Plumptre came within inches of an opener when her attempt clipped the underside of the crossbar and it took a brilliant save by Earps to stop the ex-Leicester defender soon after.

The Lionesses were then initially awarded a penalty when Rasheedat Ajibade initially appeared to shove Daly inside the area, Stanway convinced enough she started stepping up to the spot, but the decision was reversed after Honduran referee Melissa Borjas was sent to check the pitchside monitor.

James, largely subdued after her two-goal, three-assist performance against China, then saw an effort sail over.

It was the Super Falcons who attacked first in the second half, Kanu’s nodded effort catching the woodwork, while England struggled to find the same fluidity they displayed in their 6-1 rout of China – a side ranked 26 places above Nigeria.

Waldman brought on his most fearsome weapon in Bronze and Walsh’s Barcelona team-mate Asisat Oshoala, the five-time African women’s footballer of the year with whom they lifted the Champions League trophy in June.

Stanway was next to try to get a misfiring England going with a delivery from the right to find Daly, who volleyed wide.

England were lucky when Kanu spun a header past the right post as they searched for a solution to Nigeria’s relentless physicality before a fine stop from Chiamaka Nnadozie firstly prevented Daly nodding in from six yards and then Russo from the left.

It was the Nigerian fans whose voices echoed loudest as they earned another free kick and continued to pile the pressure on England.

Things went from bad to worse for Wiegman’s side when another call to the monitor ruled James had deliberately stamped on the back of Nigeria defender Alozie and she was sent off with three minutes of normal time remaining.

“Eye of the Tiger” blasted over the speakers as the Lionesses willed themselves to fight through extra time a player light and again breathed a sigh of relief when Alozie should have given Nigeria the lead but missed a big chance at the near post.

England doggedly defended their way through as Wiegman made just her second substitution, swapping Lauren Hemp for Bethany England at the 106-minute mark after replacing Russo with Kelly after 88 minutes.

Earps kept the Lionesses in it when she calmly caught Oshoala’s effort from inside the penalty area as Walsh’s comeback finally came to a close and the Lionesses calmly closed out extra time to ensure their World Cup destiny would be decided by spot kicks.

Stanway, whose penalty was the only goal in England’s 1-0 opening victory against Haiti, stepped up first but this time fired wide of the left post, reprieved when Desire Oparanozie sent hers to the exact same spot.

Beth England, who did not play a single minute of England’s Euro 2022 triumph last summer, pumped her fist in the air when she fired past Nnadozie and Alozie skied her effort as the Lionesses turned to Rachel Daly.

The Women’s Super League Golden Boot winner gave the Nigerian keeper no chance with a perfectly-placed penalty to the top corner before Ajibade beat Earps.

Greenwood and Christy Ucheibe both converted and so it was up to Kelly, who, with another significant contribution on the global stage, fired England through.




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