An 85th-minute Kiana Palacios effort sunk Nigeria’s Super Falcons to a 1-0 defeat to hosts Mexico in their opening match of the Women’s Revelation Cup inside the León Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Falcons were not super on the night as they continue their search for a first win since beating Cameroon in the quarter-finals of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco last year.
How it happened
Nigeria started the game brightly, but both teams could have opened the scoring within the opening five minutes.
However, stand-in captain Rasheedat Ajibade made an early clearance to deny the hosts, while Toni Payne threatened on the other end of the pitch.
Moments later, striker Ifeoma Onumonu had a free kick in a dangerous area, causing chaos, but no one was on hand to apply the finish.
The Mexicans grew into the encounter, and they should have broken the deadlock just past the half-hour mark, but Lizabeth Ovalle missed a sitter to save the Falcons’ blushes.
Coach Ralph Waldrum was forced into making a change moments before half-time as Glory Ogbonna came on to replace Rofiat Imuran, who was stretched out due to injury.
And shortly after coming on, the new entrant became the first player to be booked for a poor challenge on the edge of the box.
Deep into stoppage time, goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie came to the team’s rescue, making a fine stop from Anika Rodriguez’s effort from a distance to keep the scoreline goalless.
At the break, Nigeria made a double substitution, Ordega Francesca and Chinwendu Ihezuo made way for Uchenna Kanu and Jennifer Echegili.
Still, Mexico continued to look more dangerous in attack, but the Super Falcons were not without a fight.
Ajibade failed to make her effort count after Nigeria won a free-kick in a promising area.
Mexico nearly made the Atletico Madrid star pay for her profligacy, but Lizabeth Ovalle missed another glorious chance to hand El Tri the advantage.
Another injury scare for the Super Falcons surfaced in the 70th minute, as Christy Ucheibe needed treatment after going down under a difficult challenge.
The Benfica midfielder could not shake off the knock and had to leave the pitch, with Halimatu Ayinde taking her place.
And in the 85th minute, Mexico had their breakthrough as Kiana Palacios headed in a cross to beat Chiamaka Nnadozie and extend Nigeria’s losing streak to six matches.
The Super Falcons will play their second match of the four-nation invitational tournament against Costa Rica on Tuesday, February 21.
The Costa Ricans forced Colombia to a 1-1 draw in the other match played on Wednesday.
Photo Credit: Revelation Cup Mexico