Barcelona Femeni of Spain attacker, Asisat Oshoala has opined that her club will be able to use the experience of reaching last season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final to go all the way again this time out, even as they begin their campaign against Italian champions, Juventus, who feature Nigerian-born attacker, Eniola Aluko in their squad.
Heading into the first leg of her side’s battle with Juve, which Barca play away in Turin this midweek, Oshoala, who is fresh from helping the Nigerian women’s national team, Super Falcons, beat Algeria in an Olympic Games qualifier, declared emphatically that she and her club mates got wiser with their loss to Olympique Lyon of France in last year’s final.
The former Arsenal and Liverpool Ladies of England forward added that she is happy to be part of Lluís Cortes’ squad list of 18 players for the game, from which she hopes to help La Blaugranes get an away win from the round of 32 tie and go on to secure the European title this season.
The 24-year-old Oshoala, who initially signed for Barca on loan from Dalian Quanjian of China in January, scored the Spanish giants’ only goal in their maiden Champions League final last season, with her effort in her side’s 4-1 loss to Lyon at Groupama Arena in Budapest, Hungary making her the first African woman to score in the elite game.
Having scored eight goals in 11 outings in all competitions, she was rewarded with a three-year contract and, in their build-up to the new season, Oshoala scored eight goals in five matches to show enough promise to earn a place in Cortes’ latest Champions League squad.
Alongside Oshoala, Dutch star Lieke Martens, Aitana Bonmati, Jennifer Hermoso, goalkeeper Sandra Panos and Andrea Falcon were also listed, as they begin their journey with a first-leg trip to Turin to face Rita Guarino’s side at Stadio Giuseppe Moccagatta the next day.
On the domestic front, Barcelona started the season in ruthless fashion, ensuring a 9-1 crushing of newly-promoted side CD Tacon on their new ground at Estadi Johan Cruyff on Saturday and, though Oshoala could not find the net in that game, she will be aiming to inspire her Spanish side to a positive result in Turin on Wednesday.
The three-time African player of the year is, however, reminded of her side’s 3-1 round of 32 first-leg loss to BIIK Kazygurt of Kazakhstan last year in Shymkent and, though they eventually advanced on the away goal rule, ‘SuperDee’ admitted they must do everything to avoid a repeat of that result this Wednesday at Stadio Giuseppe Moccagatta.
Oshoala told a leading Spanish magazine, Futfem: “Everything is about the experience. The team had an experience last year in Kazakhstan.
“For this year, we will try to make sure we do not repeat the same mistake but correct what happened last year and try to get better.
“I think facing a new team is always good because they have not faced us before. It’s vice versa. It’s the same for us and for them as well.
“It’s difficult. You need some times to watch some of their games and all that but I think it bores down to team game. We play as a team and that makes it easier for us.”