The Super Falcons of Nigeria on Wednesday blew the Shepolopolo of Zambia apart at the ongoing Africa Women Cup of Nations in Ghana.

Desire Oparanozie, Francisca Ordega, Rasheedat Ajibade and Amarachi Okoronkwo at the Cape Coast Stadium eased the pressure on coach Thomas Dennerby with a resounding four-nil victory. Nigeria had lost their opening game to South Africa and had to bounce back.

In the opening stages, it was all Nigeria, with Zambia stuck behind the ball.

In the seventh minute, Grace Chanda made an attacking intent but the move was ruled offside. Nigeria commanded possession, but it was all in front of their opponent and there was no penetration. The Zambians were more than happy to sit back and absorb the pressure.

Oshoala looked lively. The African women soccer queen dragged a teasing ball towards goal with goalkeeper Hazel Nali making a smart save.

In the 20th minute, the Falcons went close. Ngozi Okobi floats a corner-kick into Zambia’s 18-yard-box with Onome Ebi header getting saved on the goal-line by goalkeeper Nali. That was the Falcons’ first real chance for all their dominance.

Oparanozie celebrates after opening scoring
Oparanozie (l) after opening scoring

Then, in the 41st minute, the deadlock was broken. Desire Oparanozie the goalscorer. The France based forward drives a fierce shot past goalkeeper Nali after she was released by Ordega who makes a darting run into Zambia’s backline.

Four minutes into restart, goalscorer Oparanozie almost doubled Nigeria’s lead. The prolific striker finds her way past Grace Zulu before rounding up goalkeeper Nali. But thinking that she has slotted into an empty net, Lushomo Mweemba was waiting for a goal line clearance.

The West Africans raised their game after the break, causing Zambia plenty of problems with their quick passing moves.

Zambia started to build some attacks but the final ball was lacking.

In the 61st minute, Oshoala missed a decent chance. The China-based forward comes one on one with Zambia’s Nali. However, she finds comfort in shooting off target. It was an unpardonable miss from the Nigerian no.8.

In similar fashion three minutes later, Oshoala missed another one on one with goalkeepr Nali. But those misses were forgiven as Ordega curls in the second goal of the evening after Oparanozie’s initial attempt kissed the woodwork. It was a well-deserved goal in the 69th minute after a productive outing.

Few moments later, a flowing Zambia attack resulted in a scramble by the Nigerian defence.

Then 75 minutes on the clock, substitute, Rasheedat Ajibade – who came in for Oparanozie – drives home a missile for her first ever Africa Women Cup of Nations goal to extend Nigeria’s lead to three-nil. It was a brilliant strike from the FC Robo skipper.

Oshoala’s poor performance continues as she misses another glorious chance after receiving a sumptuous pass from Ajibade. Her wastefulness in front of goal could be overlooked as she was lively and popping up in a number of different positions in the final third.

With the game secured, the Falcons looked composed. The confidence ensured Okoronkwo drives home the fourth goal with the last kick of the game.

The Falcons next face Equatorial Guinea in their last group game.


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