Nigeria’s female national team, Super Falcons on Wednesday enacted several new milestones at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, following their 2-0 victory against South Korea in their second match of this year’s event in France, whee they now have hope of reaching the round of 16.
The litany of new marks started with the Falcons’ stand-in goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie, whose agility saved Nigeria from conceding a goal against the Korans and subsequently made her become the youngest shot-stopper ever to have a clean sheet in the competition’s history.
A first half own goal by Korea’s Kim Doyeon’s own goal and Asisat Oshoala’s 75th minute sinker at Stade des Alpes, Grenoble, France ensured Nigeria kept hope alive for a round of 16 ticket, and Nnadozie, who last year dazzled with the under-20 side enacted a new mark.
After sitting out Saturday’s opening 3-0 loss to Norway, with the more experienced Tochukwu Oluehi preferred in goal, Nnadozie got her time to shine, after Falcons’ coach, Thomas Dennerby made three changes to the side, as Chinaza Uchendu and Chidimma Okeke also started.
The 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup revelation, who also enacted great personal marks during the female youth competition that also held in France last summer, was adjudged the youngest ever goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in the Female Mundial, aged 18 years and 186 days.
Nigeria went ahead just before the half hour mark when defender Kim Do-yeon miscued an effort to clear a long ball through the middle but shit it past her own goalkeeper, Kim Min-jung, who was left stranded.
There was a long Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review to see whether Nigeria’s captain, Desire Oparanozie brushed the ball with her hand as she rushed in, but there was no conclusive evidence to rule out the goal.
A Korean effort in the net was ruled out in the 58th minute for offside, before a Falcons’ counter attack saw three-time African female player of the year, Oshoala run half of the field, brush past a defender, round the goalkeeper and squeeze the ball home from a tight angle.
The Barcelona of Spain amazon might have scored yet again in similar fashion just two minutes after the 75th minute goal but her heavy first touch saw the opportunity slip away.
While the Falcons got their fourth ever win in the Women’s World Cup, Oshoala became the second Nigerian player to score in two different editions of the tournament, behind Rita Nwadike.
Dramatically, the first two own-goals of this year’s tournament, the first of which was Falcons’ defender, Osinachi Ohale against Norway, have both come in Nigeria’s matches, thereby making them the first team to both score and concede such at the same edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, since the United States had it so as well as hosts in 1999.
Wednesday’s win was also Nigeria’s first at the Female Mundial since 2011, when they defeated Canada 1-0 in Germany, and the first time they won a Women’s World Cup match 2-0, since achieving the same scoreline against Denmark at USA ’99.
The victory also means the Falcons will seal progression to the knockout stage for the first time in their last five attempts, which would be sealed if they can get a decent result in their last group game against France on Monday, as the Nigerians currently stand third on the pool’s log.
Nnadozie said: “I feel so happy it’s a dream come true. We didn’t start well but finished well. It has given us enough confidence and it will help push us in our next game this weekend.”