The Super Falcons of Nigeria recorded a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Haiti in a pre-World Cup friendly at the Emirhan Sport Center Stadium on Friday.
The game was the team’s second win in a row, following their triumph over Costa Rica in February. Here are five key takeaways from Nigeria’s win over Haiti:
Oshoala is indispensable
Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala marked her return to the Super Falcons set-up with a goal in the victory over Haiti.
Oshoala had been away from the national team, with the former Arsenal ace last playing for Nigeria in the group stage of the 2022 WAFCON in July.
The Super Falcons had struggled in front of goal in her absence, but the story was different in Turkey on Friday.
Oshoala was Nigeria’s standout player and the most dangerous attacker throughout the game. She had a goal disallowed for offside before breaking the deadlock with a tap-in from a rebound.
Her return will be a huge boost to the team’s attack as they prepare for the 2023 World Cup.
The defense needs to be more stingy
The Super Falcons’ defense held firm to secure an impressive victory over Haiti. But more work must be done on a unit that has kept just one clean sheet in eight games.
While age is no longer on Onome Ebi’s side, the Falcons conceded the Haiti goal after she was replaced midway through the second half.
On a positive note, Waldrum has a pair of excellent fullbacks in Imurat and Alozie.
Midfield creativity improving
The Nigerian midfield was the engine room of the team’s attack, with players like Rasheedat Ajibade, Jennifer Echegini, and Esther Okoronkwo impressive at the center of the park.
Okoronkwo, in particular, scored a stunning free-kick to give Nigeria the lead in the first half.
The Super Falcons demonstrated their set-piece prowess, with both goals coming from set-piece situations.
Esther Okoronkwo scored from a free-kick, while Asisat Oshoala tapped in a rebound from a corner kick. The team’s ability to convert set pieces into goals will be crucial in the World Cup.
Oparanozie return pleasing
After suffering a national team shutout since the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France, Desire Oparanozie, Super Falcons’ captain, made her first appearance for Nigeria in four years.
The China-based attacker is one of Nigeria’s most gifted players, and her quality and experience will be needed at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Overall, the Super Falcons’ victory over Haiti was an impressive performance, with several positives to take away as they continue their preparations for the 2023 World Cup. The team will be looking to build on this victory and continue their winning streak in their next game against World Cup co-hosts New Zealand.