Midfielder Peace Efih grabbed a late winner for Nigeria in the 1-0 victory against a resilient Mali team in their opening group B game at the WAFU Women’s Cup of Nation in Abidjan on Thursday.
Efih’s match winner also got Thomas Dennerby off to a winning start in his first competitive game in charge of the Super Falcons.
Les Aiglonnes were late replacements for Benin, who withdrew from the tournament in the eleventh hour.
Bad enough, the Malians only arrived hours before kick-off but managed to hold their own.
They were on their way to achieving a milestone in the head-to-head clash against the 8-time African Champions.
Mali had never kept a clean sheet against Nigeria – in the first half or in a game – and were on the verge before Efih’s header delivered the death kneel to their doggedness.
Earlier, Senegal pummeled Togo 6-0 in the other Group B game.