Mexico advanced to their first-ever FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup semi-final, defeating Ghana 4-2 on penalties as the match finished 2-2 at the end of the 90 minutes.
Mexico were able to find more of a passing rhythm in the first half and their defence, led by Nicole Soto and Tanna Carreto, limited current tournament top scorer Mukarama Abdulai to one half-chance. Neither side was able to create a clear goalscoring opportunity in the first half.
Mexico scored late to leave the final scores 2:2 through a very bad goalkeeping point. The first half of the game ended barren with Mexico slightly on slightly on top before the break.
That all changed almost immediately once referee Maria Carvajal blew the second half whistle as Ghana winger Mavis Owusu created space on the right wing before sending in a cross for Abdulai, who guided in a shot with her head to the far corner from about ten yards out, just out of the grasp of a leaping Jaidy Gutierrez, for her tournament-leading seventh goal. Abdulai’s header represented a milestone for her country.
She became Ghana’s all-time top scorer (7) at the U-17 Women’s World Cup, surpassing Jane Ayieyam (6). Mexico equalised 15 minutes later after Elizabeth Oppong was adjudged to have tripped Mexico substitute Nayeli Diaz in the penalty area. El Tri captain Nicole Perez converted the resulting spot-kick to bring her side level.
There was to be no winning goal during the 90 minutes and the third consecutive quarter-final at Uruguay 2018 went to penalties.
Mexico’s Gutierrez saved spot-kicks from Justice Tweneboaa and Elizabeth Oppong to lead El Tri to the historic victory.
Mexico have reached the quarter-finals of the competition for a third successive time. After losing 2-0 to Japan at the 2014 edition and 2-1 to Venezuela in 2016, will they make it into the last four this time around?
It’s a big match for Ghana, there’s only one objective: the semi-finals