The hosts kicked off the inaugural edition of the Aisha Buhari Cup with a hard-fought triumph over their West African rivals
Nigeria’s Gift Monday scored twice in the second half courtesy of a pair of Asisat Oshoala’s assists to power the Super Falcons to a straightforward 2-0 victory over Mali at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in the first-ever match of the Aisha Buhari Cup.
The hosts had wasted countless goalscoring opportunities before home-based teen sensation Monday broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute, five minutes after she got off the bench.
Barcelona star Oshoala showed good vision to set up that opener with a fine pass.
The four-time African Player of the Year and the FC Robo star then combined again on the stroke of full time to double the Falcons’ advantage and secure three crucial points.
Mali remained without a victory over Nigeria women’s national team, but their coach Saloum Mohammed Houssein was pleased that the Female Eagles didn’t suffer another disastrous defeat to their illustrious neighbours.
“I’m disappointed in the result against Nigeria but still pleased with the performance of my team,” Houssein said after the match.
“It’s also encouraging that we didn’t lose by a wide margin. When we used to play against Nigeria, we used to lose up to 6 to 8 nil.
“All the areas we didn’t do well enough, we will go back to training to perfect them before the next game (against Morocco).”
“We brought here our junior team as we are building a team for the future.”
Nigeria coach Randy Waldrum finally heaved a sigh of relief after watching his charges end a poor run of results.
The reigning African champions’ failed to record a win in three matches against Jamaica, Portugal, and the USA during their US Tour Series in June.
And the American trainer was delighted to lead the Falcons back to winning ways even if the team struggled in the opening period.
“We didn’t have a great start, but we did a much better job in the second half,” Waldrum said.
“Credit to Mali because they really impressed and closed the space quickly.
“We made some changes in the second half, and we were much better. Little disappointed in the first half but extremely proud of the response in the second,” the American gaffer concluded.