Why I consoled a crying Chinese player - Joy Duru

After inspiring Nigeria's progress to the quarterfinal of the U20 Women’s World Cup, the defender shares why she hugged her opponent

Joy Duru consoled Linyan Zhang in Nigeria’s 1-1 draw with China in Dinan-Lehon on Monday as she felt emotional seeing the 'crying' Chinese after their exit from the U20 Women’s World Cup.

The west Africans were facing the prospect of an early elimination from the tournament after Zhang’s 41st minute opener but  Rasheedat Ajibade's strike at the death saw them go through.

The 17-year-old cut short her celebration with her teammates as she hugged the Chinese, who was eventually named the Player of the Match.

“It was a great feeling for me to see that we qualified for the quarter-final,” Duru told Goal.

“Though I was happy that we made it, I could not help it when I saw her [Linyan Zhang] crying. I think she did well in the match and had pity for her. So, I moved to hug and console her.

“I do not like seeing someone crying - whether my opponent or teammate. I just could not stand it. So, I had to go and sympathise with her.”

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On their reaching quarterfinal, the Nasarawa Amazon defender described their late comeback draw as a miracle against the Chinese side.

“We wanted to win the match but when we saw things were not going our way. We had faith and confidence in God and ourselves,” she continued.

China were not as fantastic as us. The opportunity to score just came for them before us but we fought hard together as a team to equalise the goal. I must say our qualifying was a miracle.”