The Super Falcons of Nigeria secured their first win of the 2023 FIFA World Cup with a stunning victory over co-hosts Australia in Brisbane on Thursday.

Despite the Matildas being favourite to pick all three points, the Falcons forced a major upset to snatch a win and claim top spot in Group B.

After a relatively quiet opening 45 minutes, the Matildas took the lead in the first minute of the first half’s stoppage time through a truly exquisite strike from Emily Van Egmond. The home crowd went wild!

Nigeria’s Uchenna Kanu however had other ideas for the break as she snatched an equaliser few seconds just a couple of minutes later. A deflected strike from Rasheedat Ajibade during a fast break got deflected into Kanu’s path, and the forward did not hesitate to tuck into the net from six yards to force it level at half-time.

In the second half, Coach Randy Waldrum made few changes at about the hour-mark, and that made some good difference. Most fascinating was the introduction of Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala. She wasted no time to impose herself in the game as she forced a corner just moments later, and it was from that set-piece Nigeria got into the lead.

The corner saw Rasheedat Ajibade have her header towards goal punched by the Australian goalkeeper, before veteran defender Osinachi Ohale headed home to put Nigeria in front.

Asisat Oshoala then got her goal on 72 minutes, putting her name into record books as the first African player to score at three different editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

For the goal, Oshoala used her striker’s instinct as she pounced on a mistake in Australia’s backline. She latched on to ball placed in her path and managed to slot into an empty net from a difficult angle.

Australia pulled one back in the tenth minute of added time through defender Alanna Kennedy, who headed home from a corner. But that only proved to be a consolation for the home fans as the Falcons did well to see out proceedings for a deserved victory amid the lengthy stoppage time.

Nigeria now tops Group B with four points, edging Canada for goals scored. They next face Republic of Ireland for their final group encounter.


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