Nigeria Super Falcons produced an improved performance to hold Portugal to a thrilling 3-3 draw in their second match at the WNT Summer Series in Houston, Texas in the early hours of Monday (Nigerian time).
Falcons head coach Randy Waldrum was able to call on captain Asisat Oshoala who arrived the United States on Match Day and experienced defender Onome Ebi who arrived a day before. Both were thrusted into the starting lineup with significant effect.
Nigeria showed early signs of improvement to their display in the opening loss to Jamaica and could have scored within the first quarter of an hour but for some gilt-edge misses from the attackers including Oshoala.
The Europeans who narrowly lost their opening game 0-1 to USA however got their noses in front against the run of play when Nigerian defender Chidinma Okeke diverted a low cross into her own net in the 22nd minute.
Portugal seized the initiative and doubled their advantage twelve minutes later through captain Carole Costa who hit home unmarked after a free kick fell to her unattended to.
Nigeria gave themselves a lifeline on the dot of half time when Michelle Alozie, on her full debut for the Super Falcons stabbed home Rita Chikwelu’s cross to halve the deficit going into the interval.
FT: Portugal 3-3 Nigeria— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) June 14, 2021
Rasheedat Ajibade's stoppage time equaliser gives the Falcons a share of the spoils in their 2nd game at the #SummerSeries.
Much much improved display from the African champions though with still more work to do.
African Champions Nigeria then made a worst possible start to the second half after a mistake by substitute Onyinyechi Zogg, allowing Telma Encarnaçao to restore Portugal’s two goals cushion four minutes after the restart.
Nigeria hit back almost immediately with Rasheedat Ajibade’s square pass intended for captain Oshoala nestling into the net after defender Diana Gomes made contact with it from close range.
Chances continued to open up at both ends and it seemed as though Nigeria would be denied a result once again by the woodwork after Ajibade’s effort came off the cross bar in stoppage time.
From the ensuing corner kick though, after a clearance by the Portuguese defence, three Falcons players pressured their opponents, leading to a steal and superb run by Toni Payne whose cut back was guided into an unguarded post by Ajibade.
The goal enlivened the crowd once more including a handful of Nigerians based in Houston that came out to watch the Super Falcons at the BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas.
The Super Falcons will round off their participation at the WNT Summer Series against hosts United States on June 16 in Austin, Texas.
NIGERIA : Tochukwu Oluehi, Michelle Alozie, Chidinma Okeke, Onome Ebi (Nicole Payne, 58), Glory Ogbonna (Salome Zogg, 46), Rita Chikwelu (Joy Bokiri, 83), Rasheedat Ajibade, Antionette Payne, Ifeoma Onumonu (Ijeoma Okoronkwo, 46), Francisca Ordega (Gift Monday, 81) and Asisat Oshoala – Cap. (Vivian Ikechukwu, 70).