Nigeria Super Falcons kicked start their WAFU B Women’s Championship campaign in a bright note with a 5-1 victory over Burkina Faso on Thursday in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
The Super Falcons finished third in last year’s edition held also in Ivory Coast, with Ghana emerging as winners.
Nigeria are in Group B alongside Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
The Super Falcons had a timid start and struggled in midfield with sloppy passes but found their rhythm by the 10th minute when Alice Ogbe went on a solo run through the left flank. Although her cross found no green shirt in Burkina Faso box, it brought some threat and called for a retreat in the opposing camp.
Uchenna Grace Kanu was released into Burkina Faso area, and after outmuscling her marker, she finished her effort in the back net to hand Nigeria the lead by the 12th minute.
Burkina attempted some reactions but they proved too weak for the Super Falcons, who retook domination and soon besieged the opposing box.
Nigeria improved their lead to 2-0 by the 19th minute through a penalty transformed by Nwabuoku Evelyn, after Burkina Faso’s Salimata Simpore committed a foul in the box and was shown a straight red card.
The Falcons immediately made their one-woman advantage count following another incursion in Burkina area which culminated in another penalty executed by Amarachi Grace Okoronkwo by the 22nd minute.
Burkina made two successive substitutions which helped the team resist the assaults imposed by the Falcons for the remainder of the first half, with the scoreline standing at 3-0 in favour of Nigeria.
Back from the break, the Falcons kept up the fire, with the unstoppable Uchenna Kanu completing her brace in a goalmouth scramble.
Burkina had their fair share of the action as well when they pressed the Falcons for about 10 minutes but their efforts were futile.
Woman of the match Uchenna Kanu claimed a hat trick when she forced a move into Burkina box and beat goalkeeper Kounda Zenabou to take Nigeria’s lead to 5-0.
However, following a beautiful display by the Burkinabe in Nigeria area, they earned a free-kick and then a corner kick which Charlotte Millogo hit in to reduce the deficit at 5-1.
Nigeria will face Niger on Saturday.