Norway defeated reigning African champions Nigeria 3-0 in both team’s opening match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (FIFAWWC) finals in Reims on Saturday.
The Super Falcons of Nigeria started on a bright note putting the Norwegian defence under pressure early on in the game with Francisca Ordega as the tormentor in chief. Norway however stood their ground, weathered the storm and soon made Nigeria pay for refusing to make their dominance count.
Guro Reiten scored in the 17th minute as the Super Falcons failed to deal with a corner-kick which deflected in, before Lisa-Marie Utland made it two 17 minutes later when she flashed a fierce shot past goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi from close range.
The African champions were overwhelmed in the encounter and this showed as defender Osinachi Ohale put the ball into her own net in an attempt to steer the ball away as the Scandinavians again threatened from the left side of the Nigerian defence.
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With the first half done, head coach Thomas Dennerby introduced Chinaza Uchendu, Chidinma Okeke and Uchenna Kanu midway through the second half after Faith Micheal was stretchered off due to a head injury. The substitions saw Chidinma Okeke move to defence as Nigeria switched to a 3-5-2 wingback system which saw the Falcons create some good goal scoring chances and improved their general play.
Despite successfully shutting the Norwegians out, Nigeria were however unable to reduce the deficit as the three first half goals proved to be decisive in the tie.
Not the desired start for #NGA#FIFAWWC #YourSportsMemo #NORNGA #DareToShine pic.twitter.com/p8HMPLDleH
— ACLSports (@acl_sports) June 8, 2019
Norway’s win makes it their fourth in four games against the Super Falcons of Nigeria.
Nigeria will now move to Grenoble, where they take on Korea Republic on 12th June. The Koreans lost 0-4 to host nation France in opening match in Paris on Friday.