It was a match the Nigeria’s Super Falcons were condemned to win to remain in the on-going 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup final in France and the team responded well by beating South Korea 2-0 at Stade des Alpes Grenoble today to pick the three points at stake.
Head coach, Thomas Dennerby who clearly showed his resentment to his team’s 3-0 defeat by Norway in Reims last weekend had taken time to have a discussion with the players and they promised to live up to the expectations starting with today’s crucial match against South Korea.
Serious knee injury to a defender, Faith Michael and a blunder by midfielder, Halimatu Ayinde in the loss against Norway presented Dennerby with no choice than to change the chemistry of his team and it was an opportunity for fresh air to be breathed into the team.
He decided to make three changes to the lineup that failed to perform in the first match by starting home-based youth international goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie and rookie defender Chidinma Okeke as well as AS Braga of Portugal attacking midfielder, Chinaza Uchendu in place of goalie Tochukwu Oluehi, Michael and Ayinde.
This mixture of youth and experience worked well even as the Koreans started early to dominate the game but the tide turned against the Asians in the 29th minute when Falcons captain Desire Oparanozie linked up with Asisat Oshoala and Ngozi Ebere and as she chased down the ball, a panicky South Korea’s defender, Dou Kim put the ball into her own net to gifted Nigeria the first goal.
In the second half, the Koreans came forcefully at the Nigerians to equalize the match but a resolute Falcons defence line marshaled by veteran defender Onome Ebi thwarted all their efforts and a counter attack by the Falcons saw Okeke put a through pass to fleet-footed, Oshoala.
The FC Barcelona star ran with ball and when Korean goalkeeper, Kim Min-Jeong sensed danger she rushed out only to be dribbled by Oshoala who scored from the tight angle and it was Nigeria’s second goal in the 75th minute.
A desperate South Koreans from this moment threw the kitchen sink on the African Champions as they bombarded Nigeria’s goal area but could not find away to score against Nnadozie who is fast gaining in confidence to become Falcons number one soon. The Nigerians held on to their precious two goals and three points until the referee’s final whistle.