France-based striker, Desire Oparanozie is picking postives from the 2-1 loss by Nigeria’s female national team, Super Falcons against Canada on Monday, as she opened the scoring with a wonderful goal, only for the North Americans to storm back from a goal down to win in Murcia, Spain.
Oparanozie went past two opponents in an amazing dribbling run, after a delectable defence splitting pass from Uchenna Kanu, to open scoring for Thomas Dennerby’s side in the 26th minute at Pinatar Arena, in the second of two back-to-back World Cup build-up matches at the venue.
Dramatically, the Falcons had on Friday equally roared back from a goal down to beat Iceland women’s top-flight club, UMF Selfoss, but it was a reversal of fortunes in their high-profile clash with fifth ranked Canada.
The Maple Leaf ladies had also beaten number three ranked England 1-0 on Friday, such that much was expected of them on Monday against the Nigerians, and it was little of a surprise to see Beckie Janine put Canada back on level terms in the 48th minute.
Schmidt’s header then gave Canada the lead seven minutes into the second half, but Nigeria made a bold effort in the 61st minute, as Ngozi Ebere set up Kanu but her effort was easily caught by the goalkeeper.
Dennerby then attempted to gain tactical supremacy with two changes in the 68th minute, as Friday’s revival heroine, with a brace for Nigeria, Ini Umutong replaced Kanu and Rasheedat Ajibade went in for Ngozi Okobi, who failed to exhibit her usual dazzles in midfield.
With just seven minutes to go, Dennerby sent on Alice Ogebe in place of Anam Imo, while injured Halimat Ayinde gave way for Ogonna Chukwudi, while Chinasa Uchendu replaced Oparanozie in the 85th minute.
A 90th minute corner won by Ebere turned out to be the last big chance for the Falcons, as they bowed gallantly to the Canadians, who are now unbeaten in six games, but the Nigerian lasses ended the North American side’s clean-sheet record they had since this year began.
Falcons’ starting 11 vs Canada: Oluehi, Ohale, Michael, Ebere, Ebi, Imo, Ayinde, Chikwelu, Okobi, Kanu, Oparanozie; Substitutes – Nnadozie [GK], Chukwudi, Umotong, Jonathan [GK], Uchendu, Ajibade, Chukwunonye, Dike, Ogebe.