Nigeria’s Super Falcons played out a disappointing 1-1 draw against Ethiopia at the Abebe Bikila Stadium in Addis Ababa, as both sides faced off in the first leg of the 2024 Olympics qualifiers.
Missing head coach Randy Waldrum and several key players, including Ashleigh Plumptre, Halimatu Ayinde, Christy Ucheibe, and Osinachi Ohale, there were a number of new faces in the Super Falcons’ ranks for the encounter.
Ethiopia came into the clash after defeating Chad in the previous round, and they were confident of beating Nigeria.
FC Barcelona Femeni striker Asisat Oshoala missed the first chance of the game to open the scoring for the Nigerian side inside five minutes.
The Ethiopians took a shock lead less than a minute later, with Birkie Amare firing home from close range after an almighty goalmouth scramble.
The Super Falcons struggled to create any openings, with the state of the turf and the weather condition playing a role in their struggles.
Michelle Alozie, Gift Monday and Oshoala all attempted to find the back of the net for the Nigerians without success as the first half came to its conclusion.
Six minutes into the second half of the clash, the Super Falcons finally drew level in superb fashion. Stand-in captain Rasheedat Ajibade drove home a half-volley from the edge of the box after a botched clearance fell to her.
The Ethiopians refused to back down despite conceding, and they continued to take the game to the Super Falcons in front of their fans.
In the 92nd minute, striker Ifeoma Onumonu rose impressively to head the ball into the back of the net after a pinball in the Ethiopian box, only for the assistant’s flag to rule the effort out for an offside in the build-up.
The Super Falcons played out a draw against Ethiopia and will now face them once again in Abuja on October 31st for the second leg of the tie.