Nigeria’s Super Falcons secured their first win of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup with an impressive 3-2 win over co-hosts Australia in their second group B game at the tournament.
Despite being without captain Sam Kerr and a number of influential players, the Matildas were clear favourites to emerge with all three points in front of a packed stadium at home.
After a keenly-contested first half, the Matildas took the lead through Emily Van Egmond in the first minute of added time. A poor goal-kick from Chiamaka Nnadozie was pounced upon by the home side, with Arsenal forward Caitlin Ford squaring the ball for Van Egmond to slot home the opener.
The Super Falcons equalised just minutes later as the first half was drawing to a close through Uchenna Kanu. Atletico Madrid Femeni forward Rasheedat Ajibade fired a shot towards goal which was deflected into the path of Kanu, who produced an accomplished finish to draw her side level.
The Matildas were in control of the game at the start of the second half as the Nigerians struggled to find a footing until manager Randy Waldrum turned to his bench. He sent on legendary striker Asisat Oshoala, who had been struggling with a knock coming into the game, for goalscorer Kanu in the 64th minute.
Oshoala made her arrival felt within seconds, playing off the shoulder of the last defender to push the Super Falcons upfield and win a corner. The resulting corner saw Ajibade send a header towards goal which was saved by the Australian goalkeeper, only for veteran defender Osinachi Ohale to bundle home the ball from close range in the 65th minute.
Seven minutes later, Oshoala became the first African player to score in three editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup when she used her blistering pace to take advantage of a mixup in the Matildas’ defence and add her name to the scoresheet, silencing the home crowd.
Following a period of sustained pressure, Australia pulled one back in added time through defender Alanna Kennedy, who headed home from a corner.
The Super Falcons held on to record only their fifth ever win in the history of the competition and go joint-top of Group B alongside Canada. They will face already-eliminated Republic of Ireland in their final group game.