Defending champions Nigeria revived their 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations campaign with an easy 4-0 win over Zambia on Wednesday in Cape Coast.
The Super Falcons lost their opening match to South Africa and were facing an ignominious elimination from the tournament.
And so they tackled the match by the scruff of the neck.
They made a bright start moving forward and operating from the left flank with Francisca Ordega in-charge but Lushome Mweemba’s clearance came off Desire Oparanozie for a goal-kick.
Inside the ninth minute, midfielder Rita Chikwelu sent in a long pass to Asisat Oshoala and the china-based forward scurried to power in a shot but goalkeeper Hazel Nali went down at the right time to smother the situation.
Captain Onome Ebi came in with a blistering header on a corner kick but her powerful header was picked up by an alert Nali.
Goalkeper Nali was so much involved in the game she had to come off her line to clear out some threaded ball by the Falcons midfielders- who lacked ideas upfront.
Ten minutes from time, Ordega made a run from the left flank into the box, but was outmuscled off the ball as she delayed laying a pass for Oparanozie.
Later Zambia responded and it was the skillful Grace Chanda, who slalomed past two markers before releasing Rachel Kundananji inside the box but the lanky striker shot feebly.
Five minutes from time, Chanda’s free-kick from some 25 yards was powerful and rising.
Before the break, Nigeria brought their campaign back on track with the opening goal.
A wall pass from Ayinde released Ordega on the left wing and the speedster raced with the ball before squaring it for Oparanozie to connect home much to the relief of the Nigeria bench.
Three minutes after the break Oparanozie nearly fetched the second goal but was denied by right back Margeret Belemu who stopped a goal bound shot.
The 2016 top scorer did everything right by rounded up Nali and firing on target.
Tembo missed a clearance and the ball fell to Oshoala but the former African Footballer of the Year skied her effort from close range despite having a perfect first touch
Oshoala shockingly side-netted after going on a one-on-one with the goalkeeper and she had an option in Oparanozie who was down left.
Again the on-loan Oshoala broke the offside trap but she wasted so much time and was dispossessed.
Ordega smashed home from a rebound by curling past goalkeeper Nali after Oparanozie’s connection to Oshoala’s cross from the left came off the side post.
With a quarter of an hour left, substitute Rasheedat Ajibade rocketed the ball which came off the underside of the bar for the third goal.
Skillful Chanda nearly pulled one back for Zambia when she sublimely dribbled her marker but her toe-poked effort inside the box.
The Shepolopolo-despite the defeat-will be indebted to goalkeeper Nali who pulled a superb point-black save to deny Oshoala a brace.
Again Nali applied a finger-tip to deny Oshoala again from close range and a couple of minites later Nali came out tops in another 1v1 situation.
But injury time, substitute Grace Okoronkwo long range shot bounced off the turf and slipped under the arms of Nali for the fourth goal
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