Chloe Kelly's gesture to Nigeria star as she shouts at BBC cameras to go away

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Chloe Kelly
Chloe Kelly's gesture to Nigeria star as she shouts at BBC cameras to go away

Chloe Kelly once again supplied England with last-ditch heroics, with her latest salvage act arriving in a dramatic last-16 penalty shootout against Nigeria.

But while Kelly's sublimely-taken penalty to secure England 's progression to the Women's World Cup quarter-finals sent fans and teammates into a unbridled frenzy, the Euro 2022 star spent the moments after her converted penalty consoling the very player she had just gotten the better of.

Joined by teammate Alex Greenwood, Kelly went over to comfort Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie in the aftermath of England's 4-2 penalty shootout triumph. A dejected Nnadozie lay on the ground in tears following Kelly's stunning spot kick into the top left corner.

And Kelly and Greenwood swiftly went over to check on the keeper, lifting her up off the ground in an admirable show of gamesmanship. Kelly then urged BBC camera operators to go away, as they attempted to get a shot of Nigeria's post-match heartbreak.

Nnadozie's performance between the sticks for the Super Falcons was superb, denying England's best efforts throughout the tight contest.

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Her display was microcosmic of the Super Falcons, who outplayed, outclassed and eventually outnumbered England during the 120-minute knockout encounter after Lauren James was dismissed shortly before end of regular time.

Chloe Kelly's gesture to Nigeria star as she shouts at BBC cameras to go awayKelly then urged the TV camera to go away

However, Nigeria - who are ranked 40th in the world, 36 places below England - failed to capitalise on their chances to be the latest team to send a European behemoth home.

Lucy Bronze was arguably fortunate not to concede a late penalty to Nigeria after a clumsy challenge in the penalty area. But England's defence remained steadfast.

And following missed penalties from Desire Oparanozie and Michelle Alozie, Nigeria were forced to rue the missed opportunity as Beth England, Rachel Daly and Alex Greenwood netted their spot kicks before Kelly secured a first-ever penalty shootout victory at a major tournament for the Lionesses.

But while England scraped their way to the quarter-finals and were jubilant for it, their triumph comes with a concerning caveat after James was sent off in the 85th minute with an immediate red card after stamping on Michelle Alozie. How long James' suspension will be remains to be seen.

Megan Feringa

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