Host Ethiopia shocked visiting Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in their first leg clash of the First Round of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018 qualifier on Sunday in Addis Ababa.
The hosts had all the possession to show for the duel but come off short in testing a strong Nigerian backline throughout the encounter.
Joy Jerry’s 18th minute strike was cancelled out by Tarikuwa Debiso in the second stanza as Junior Lucy’s as the Ethiopians are nicknamed avoided defeat. Although the Flamingoes got the opener 18 minutes following the onset, it was the home side that fired the first shot.
Timer Tenkir tested Nigerian goalkeeper Christiana Obia before Kefia Abdelrahman skied her effort with a long range attempt in the 17th minute.
Nigeria took the lead a minute later through Jerry who improvised to fire home after the Ethiopian defense left her unmarked. The visitors should have doubled their lead in the 20th minute but Jerry couldn’t finish off the opportunity.
The homers pushed to get the leveler through Rediet Aseresaghen who missed a clear chance on one on one situation against Obia at the hour mark. Aseresaghen tried her luck from a set piece but an alert Obia denied her.
Upon resumption, Ethiopia continued to dominate proceedings and were almost rewarded with equalizer only for Tenkir to fire off target in the 55th minute.
In the 63rd minute, Junior Lucy drew level when Debiso’s well taken free kick found the back of the net. Ethiopia persisted in finding the winner but all their efforts were in vain.
Nigeria managed to hold on to the result while Ethiopia saved blushes with a good second half performance. Nigeria and Ethiopia will lock horns in two weeks in Benin City.
Earlier, Cameroon humbled Algeria 4-0 away in Algiers whilst Ghana triumphed 5-1 over Gambia in Banjul. South Africa also toppled regional rivals Botswana 5-2 in Lobatse.
The return matches take place in a fortnight, with the winners advancing to the final round, where Djibouti and Morocco are guaranteed places after Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea withdrew.
Three teams will represent Africa at the final tournament scheduled for 13 November to 1 December 2018 in Uruguay.
01.12.2017 Lobatse Botswana 2-5 South Africa
01.12.2017 Algiers Algeria 0-4 Cameroon
02.12.2017 Banjul Gambia 1-5 Ghana
03.12.2017 Addis Ababa Ethiopia 1-1 Nigeria