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2023WWC: Nigeria Defeat Australia, Moving One Step Closer to Qualification

Super Falcons
Super Falcon’s players celebrate a goal against Australia on Thursday.

On Thursday, the Super Falcons rallied from a goal down to defeat Australia 3-2 in a Group B encounter at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

After a sloppy clearing from the Nigerians, Emily Van Egmund gave the Maltidas the lead just a minute into extra time. Coach Randy Waldrum’s girls replied minutes later to tie the game.

Rasheedat Ajibade set up Uchenna Kanu, who fired the ball into the back of the Australian goal.

With the strike, both teams went into the tunnel level on points. While the Australians battled for a second goal of the day, Osinachi Ohale headed the ball into an empty net in the 65th minute after the Australian goalie failed to punch away Ajibade’s header.

Oshoala Delivers 

Asisat Oshoala
Asisat Oshoala celebrates after scoring Nigeria’s third goal against Australia. Credit: FIFA

 

Prior to her goal, the Nigerian coach made a double substitution, bringing in Ifeoma Onumonu for Uchenna Kanu and Asisat Oshoala for Ester Okoronkwo.

And, less than ten minutes after coming on, Oshoala silenced her detractors by capitalizing on a defensive blunder to score her first goal of the tournament.

Despite a two-goal deficit, the Maltidas pressed for a comeback. The tournament co-hosts stormed forward in their fight to resurrect their campaign. The Nigerian goalie Chiamaka Nnadozie, on the other hand, proved up to the task, keeping the Australians at bay. Alanna Kennedy scored a consolation goal in the final minute of added time for the home team.

Seconds after her goal, Mackenzie Arnold saved an Oshoala long-range effort to deny the Barcelona Femeni forward a second goal of the game.

Nigeria now leads Group B with four points after battling to a goalless draw with Canada earlier in the day. A draw in Nigeria’s match against Ireland on Monday will be enough for the Africans to qualify for their second consecutive knockout stage.

The co-hosts have three points and need to beat Canada while hoping the Super Falcons collapse against Ireland to advance to the last 16.

Nigeria’s latest victory makes them the only African country to have won the tournament thus far. Oshoala’s goal also made her the only African player to score three goals in three Women’s World Cups.

 

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