Nigeria came from a goal down to defeat Australia 3-2 in a Group B Women’s World Cup game played at Brisbane Stadium on Thursday.
The Super Falcons came into the match aware they had to avoid defeat to stand a chance of making it out of the group.
Nigeria drew 0-0 with Canada in their first game
After beating Australia they top Group B
They will play Ireland in their final group game
However, their opponents were motivated by the fact that a win would seal their place in the Round of 16 with a game to spare. Off course the goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie kept her team in the game in the first half with a string of fantastic saves.
The custodian was, however, finally beaten in the first minute of additional time by Emily van Egmond who did well to convert Caitlin Foord’s cut-back.
Five minutes later, the teams were on level terms. Rasheedat Ajibade’s cross was deflected into the path of Uchenna Kanu, and she calmly slotted home.
The Matildas started the second half the brighter of the two sides but the West Africans were resolute in defence.
Against the run of play, Nigeria won a corner; the ball was not cleared and despite MacKenzie Arnold’s initial save, the rebound fell kindly to Osinachi Ohale who headed home to make it 2-1 in the 65th minute.
Barcelona attacker Asisat Oshoala then capitalised on poor communication at the back between the defender and the goalkeeper to score the Super Falcon’s third.
Alanna Kennedy scored in the ninth minute of added time to make it 3-2 and set up a tense finale, but the Super Falcons held on to grab maximum points. The win put the Super Falcons on top of Group B with four points, the same as Canada who defeated the Republic of Ireland 2-1 and drew 0-0 with Nigeria.
The Girls in Green have already been eliminated from the competition after losing their two matches in the pool. The Matildas are on three points and must defeat Canada in their final group game to stand a chance of making it to the next phase.
The Super Falcons keeper Nnadozie has been fantastic in the two games she has played, pulling a number of top-class saves. Nigeria will rely on her if they are to make it to the latter stages of the prestigious global competition.
The defence has to step up as well to ensure they protect her because she has been exposed on several occasions.
Next: Nigeria will play the Republic of Ireland in their final group fixture on Monday, July 31.