Nigeria cruised to a 5-0 win over Chile to claim the top spot and log three wins from as many starts in Group A. With Chile already eliminated, both teams changed their line-ups, but the Africans never lost control and held a two-goal margin at the interval. Forward Loveth Ayila, fresh from grabbing a late winner against Trinidad and Tobago, proved the star turn once again by hitting a hat-trick.
Nigeria dominated from the outset, and though Ngozi Okobi was denied by a superb block from defender Yorky Arriagada, the breakthrough appeared inevitable. It arrived on 15 minutes as Okobi’s well-hit free-kick proved too hot for goalkeeper Veronica Saez; Francisca Ordega followed up to convert an easy chance.
Ordega then came close to doubling her own tally but her superb run and shot was blocked impressively at the death by defender Yocelyn Cisternas. Chile had a rare moment of hope in attack just past the half-hour mark, but striker Francisca Moroso’s crossed shot was held by Ibijoke Sangonuga.
Nigeria extended their lead four minutes from the interval with Ayila converting after taking advantage of an inch-perfect cross by the lively Ordega. Soon after the break, the pair combined again, and after an exchange of passes, Ayila raced clear of the defence to finish past an exposed Saez. Ayila completed her treble on 72 minutes as she fired her effort through a forest of legs from within the penalty area.
Though the contest was over, the South Americans, to their credit, looked to fight back when Yanara Aedo struck the crossbar from 25 metres. Then came a pair of chances within a minute for Winifred Eyebhoria, who first shot just wide, before hitting the crossbar from about the same distance Aedo had just a few minutes earlier.
Okobi completed the scoring in injury time, with the playmaker collecting the ball in the penalty area before unleashing a shot into the top left corner of the net. Nigeria will now meet Korea Republic in their quarter-final in Marabella on Thursday.