On Tuesday, Nigeria’s Super Falcons secured an impressive 3-0 victory over New Zealand’s Football Ferns in a friendly game played in Turkey.
The match was exciting, with both teams putting up spirited performances. While Nigeria’s dominance was evident, several takeaways could be gleaned from the game. Here are five of them:
Set-pieces could be Nigeria’s secret weapon
The Super Falcons showed their prowess from set-pieces, with the game’s crucial opening goal coming from a corner kick. This is not an isolated occurrence, as both goals in their previous game against Haiti also came from set pieces.
With this impressive record, it is evident that the Super Falcons have the edge over their opponents regarding dead ball situations. If they can continue to capitalize on these opportunities, they will be a force to be reckoned with in future fixtures.
Desire Oparanozie’s return to the Falcons is timely
Desire Oparanozie’s goal in stoppage time marked the end of a forgetful last four years for her in international football.
While Rasheedat Ajibade fumbled two chances late on, Oparanozie expertly tucked in Nigeria’s fourth goal to highlight her importance to the team.
The 29-year-old striker’s presence in the team brings a new dimension to the squad’s attacking prowess. Her ability to hold up play and bring others into the game is essential to the team’s success. Oparanozie’s goal-scoring touch will be critical for the Super Falcons in future fixtures.
The Super Falcons’ confidence is growing
The Falcons’ performance against New Zealand indicated their growing confidence. The team’s dominant display against a higher-ranked opponent on the FIFA scale is a morale booster for the squad.
After losing seven straight matches heading into February, the Nigerian ladies have now won three on the bounce, leaving them with good momentum ahead of stiffer challenges at the FIFA World Cup.
Asisat Oshoala’s influence cannot be overstated
Asisat Oshoala, Nigeria’s talismanic striker, was a constant thorn in New Zealand’s defense. Although she did not score, her influence on the game was evident.
The Barcelona forward’s runs, movement, and hold-up play caused the New Zealand defense several problems, and she was unlucky not to score. Oshoala’s leadership and experience make her a crucial player for the Super Falcons.
Nigeria’s full-backs are crucial to their success
The performances of Michelle Alozie and Rofiat Imuran were instrumental to Nigeria’s dominant display against New Zealand.
Alozie was a constant threat down the right flank, delivering several dangerous crosses and claiming an assist for the second goal. Imuran, on the other hand, was defensively sound and composed, despite her young age. The duo’s combination of attacking and defensive abilities was vital to the team’s success.
Alozie’s overlapping runs and pinpoint crosses were a key feature of Nigeria’s attacking play. Her ability to take on defenders and deliver accurate crosses into the box was evident throughout the game. Alozie’s delivery for the second goal was a testament to her quality, as she found Echegini with a perfectly weighted cross.
In conclusion, the Super Falcons’ victory over New Zealand was an impressive display, highlighting the team’s growing confidence, solid defense, set-piece prowess, and the influence of key players such as Oshoala, Alozie, and Oparanozie.
If the Super Falcons can build on these takeaways, they have the potential to cause an upset or two at the World Cup.