Goals from Esther Okoronkwo and Asisat Oshoala were all the Super Falcons needed to confirm their superiority and record a 2-1 win over Haiti in a pre-World Cup friendly at the Emirhan Sport Center Stadium on Friday.
The Super Falcons dominated the early proceedings against the Haitians but struggled to make their impact felt on the scoreboard.
Save for a couple of free-kicks from Haiti, all the first-half chances went Nigeria’s way.
In the 21st minute, a free-kick into Haiti’s danger area caused chaos in the box, but no Super Falcons player was there to apply the finishing touch before Haiti cleared the ball out of danger.
From the resultant corner kick, Oshoala found the net with a smart tap-in after a decent save from the goalkeeper, but it was controversially ruled out for offside.
It should have been 1-0 to the Falcons shortly after, but the woodwork unfortunately denied Ajibade’s brilliant aim at goal.
Moments later, Oshoala got into another promising position and sent a snapshot just wide off target after a good cross from Alozie.
The momentum was with the Nigerian ladies, and it was no surprise when Randy Waldrum’s girls finally took the lead. Esther Okoronkwo broke the deadlock from a superbly taken free kick on the edge of the area.
Oshoala should have made it two-nil, but the Barcelona ace was narrowly beaten to a header following a sumptuous delivered cross.
Another side-footed effort from Ajibade then grazed the post after she was well set up in the area.
And just before the break, Oshoala somehow missed the ball with the net at her mercy.
Haiti came out of the dressing room for the second half like a wounded hyena. Still, the only shot they had on target during the early exchanges was easily saved by goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie.
However, Nigeria doubled their advantage with their first foray forward. From a corner kick, Jennifer Echegini’s towering header came off the crossbar, and Oshoala was on hand to tap the rebound home.
It is the Barcelona striker’s first game for Nigeria since the opening match of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in July, and it was nice to see her mark it with a goal.
The former Arsenal star almost grabbed her second of the encounter on the hour-mark, but the goalkeeper made a brilliant save from close range.
Coach Waldrum sent on Desire Oparanozie shortly after for the captain’s first match for Nigeria in four years, but it was Oshoala who continued to be Nigeria’s most dangerous attacker.
And moments after Waldrum replaced veteran defender Onome Ebi, the Falcons conceded following a defensive mix-up.
Haiti pressed their advantage, and it took an excellent Chiamaka double save to stop the CONCACAF campaigners from equalising 12 minutes from time.
Both teams had chances late on to alter the final scores, but the Haiti goalkeeper stopped Oshoala’s low finish while Nnadozie brilliantly pushed a distant lob unto the crossbar.
Ultimately, it ended in a 2-1 Nigeria victory as the Super Falcons made it two wins on the bounce after the triumph over Costa Rica in February.
The Super Falcons will next square up against World Cup co-hosts New Zealand on Tuesday as the former African champions continue their preparations for the 2023 Mundial.