Oshoala’s Pace, Power Excite Barcelona’s Coach

Barcelona Femeni of Spain attacker, Asisat Oshoala has gained more accolades from her coach in the Catalan club’s women’s team, as the tactician, Llius Cortes says the Nigerian lass has brought a lot of impact into the squad with her pace and power.

Cortes went on to affirm that Oshoala has already justified the club’s decision in boldly turning her initial loan arrival from Dalian Quanjian of China into a full contract earlier this summer, as the coach says the three-time African Women Footballer of The Year has added a lot of depth to Barca’s squad, wth high expectations of helping the team do better this season.

The coach recalled how Oshoala, who is now an assistant captain in Nigeria’s female national team, Super Falcons, scored the club’s only goal in the UEFA Women’s Champions League (UWCL) final defeat by Olympique Lyon of France, and believes she and the club will do better this time.

She admitted how delighted she is with Oshoala’s qualities, especially her physical attributes and energy, which Cortes confessed is a rare addition for the Blaugranes to get into their team, and she is now thinking big of the Nigerian star getting even better as the days go by, even as she complements the efforts of her teammates.

Oshoala gave early signs of better days ahead of her when she rained several goals in pre-season, then went into top gear at the start of competitive action in the domestic league the previous weekend, before showing her bite again in her side’s 2-0 win over Juventus of Italy women in the Champions League play-off on Wednesday evening.

The Falcons’ star, who has also played for FC Robo Queens of Lagos and Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt as well as Arsenal Women and Liverpool Ladies of England, started the first leg of the UWCL knockout encounter on the bench, but her side laboured in Turin, before eventually taking the lead through Alexia Putellas in the 39th minutes.

The hosts made the second half difficult for Barcelona to consolidate on their lead, until the 68th minute, when the 24-year-old Oshoala got off her club’s bench to help turn the tide back in their favour, as she kept Juve busy thinking of how to keep her at bait till the final whistle, as her team eventually carried the day with a 2-0 advantage, ahead of the second leg this week.

It was another epochal outing for ‘SuperDee,’ who had established herself in the team with eight goals in 11 games and made history as the first African woman to score in the Champions League final, after which her stellar performances convinced Barca to hand her a two-year contract that will run until June 2022.

She also helped Barcelona make a strong start to their domestic title quest with a 9-1 thrashing of newly-promoted CD Tacon, with a hint that she will finally bell the cat this time out and make a huge world of difference for the team that missed out on the Spanish Iberdrola and Champions League titles last season.

All these have left a delighted impression on Cortes, who moved to boost the club’s ranks this summer, in a bid to finally snatch glory this season with five signings, including Oshoala, as the gaffer hopes to lead Barcelona to reclaim the Spanish gong for the first time in four seasons.

Cortes told Spanish newspaper, Sport: “The feeling is we have a complete squad with a lot of competition. Oshoala, we all saw at the end of last season. She has pace and power which is tough to find in any player nationally.

“It’s the squad we wanted and the one we asked for. The club made a huge effort to put this squad together, the signings are the ones we wanted and I think we’ve been successful in that sense.

“We’ve also been able to promote some players from the youth teams, which is good because it gives meaning to the way we play and the work we’re doing.”

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