FC Barcelona Femini’s forward Asisat Oshoala scored as Nigera’s Super Falcons fought hard to earn a 2-0 win in their second group game at the 2019 FIFA Women World Cup in France. The Falcons went ahead in the first half as an own goal from D Y Kim and a second half finish by Oshoala meant Thomas Dennerby stood a chance of qualification from the group for the first time since 1999.
— .♛. (@theCyberNewt) June 12, 2019
Coach Thomas Dennerby made three changes to his team that lost 3-0 to Norway in their first group A game, with 18-year old Chiamaka Nnadozie named for her debut, taking the place of first-choice goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi. Chidinma Okeke was named to replace the injured Faith Michael and Chinaza Uchendu for Halimatu Ayinde.
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Nigeria heading into the game, had just won just one of their four previous games against Asian oppositions at the FIFA Women World Cup – losing three and winning just one (2-1 against North Korea in 1999).
Nigeria looked to make it another win against an Asian side as Oparanozie in the second minute of the game, did really well to win Nigeria back the ball and set off on the counter-attack as a well positioned Oshoala made a pass request. The final pass from Oparanozie however, was wayward it made it’s way to Korean goalkeeper Kim Minjung who came off her line to collect it.
Nigeria in the process of finding their rhythm found Ordega, the China-based star crossed into the box from the left wing and as Korea couldn’t clear their lines, Oparanozie got her head to the ball, nodding it towards goal to force a great save from Kim Minjung.
Korea had their own opportunity as Nigeria failed to clear their lines and had the ball fall to Lee Mina on the edge of the box who drove her shot low towards the far corner, but had it glance off the post on its way wide of the target.
The 9-time African champions had a scare two minutes later as 18-year old World Cup debutant Chiamaka Nnadozie, almost played Nigeria into trouble after taking too long to clear the ball. She played a short pass to Ebere who was being tightly marked by Ji, but the former does really well to keep possession before playing a long pass upfield.
Salvation came for Nigeria as D Y Kim tried to clear Okobi’s long ball over the top but didn’t realized that goalkeeper Minjung was off her line to collect it herself. It bounced past Oparanozie and the goalkeeper straight into the back of the empty net.
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) June 12, 2019
Nigeria however survived a scare as VAR had to review the goal as it looked like Desire Oparanozie had reached out a hand to touch it. Review showed no contact with her hand as Nigeria went in the the halftime with a 1-0 lead.
The second half was started with Nigeria attacking again as Oparanozie rose highest to get on the end of Ordega’s cross. Her effort skimmed the crossbar on its way over with many of the fans around the stadium thinking it had gone in after it rolled down the back of the net.
Korea had the pressure in the second half swing into Nigeria’s box as Lee Mina played a good through ball into the box to pick out Jung Seolbin, it looked like Onome Ebi dealt with it, but she misses her clearance. Lee Mina then tried to cross the ball to Ji in the middle, but Ohale beat her to it and cleared the danger.
Korea had an even closer chance as a great cross into the box from Cho down the left had Nnadozie come off her line to push the ball away but put it straight into Lee Geummin’s path and the midfielder tapped the ball into the empty net.
The linesman’s flag was joy for Nigeria and heartbreak for the Koreans as Geummin’s goal was chalked off for offside. Yoon Dukyeo’s side despite pressurizing Nigeria all through the rest of the half experiences and even bigger heartbreak as Oshoala doubled Nigeria’s lead.
From Naija with 💚💚💚💚
— Ann Odong, FIFA (@FIFAWWC_NGA) June 12, 2019
Okeke did the majority of the work for the goal – sending a lofted pass to Oshoala as used her strength to get past Hwang on the edge of the box before she touching the ball past the keeper and over the goal line from a very tight angle at the near post.
Oshoala got another great chance but failed to utilize. The Super Falcons set off on the counter-attack again and had Okobi set up Oshoala, the Barcelona Femini forward brought it down really well but a heavy touch in the box took the ball away from her which gave Kim Minjung the chance to come off her line and collect it.
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) June 12, 2019
The would be the end for Oshoala as she got substituted by Dennerby for Uchenna Kanu. The rest of the game went on as Chiamaka Nnadozie kept NIgeria on the bay to earn a cleansheet on her WC debut.
A tougher test now await the Super Falcons as they face table topping hosts, France in their last group game on Monday. France themselves, play Norway in the second round of games for Group A later today.