By Oyerinde Femi
Nigeria’s Super Falcons on Friday beat Haiti 2-1 in the first of two friendlies in Antalya, Turkey ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Esther Okoronkwo and Asisat Oshoala were the scorers for the Africans.
The Falcons struggled in the most part of the first half to breakdown the Haitians at the Emir Sports Complex.
Asisat Oshoala had the first real chance in the game but her attempt proved not to be Nigeria’s opener.
The Barcelona striker then saw her shot blocked in the 15th minute of the game and was unfortunate to see her goal seven minutes later ruled out for offside.
In the 26th minute, Rasheedat Ajibade’s fine shot hit the woodwork as the Falcons continued to put the pressure on the Haitians.
Michelle Alozie delivered a cross in the 38th minute but Oshoala’s shot afterwards went wide.
Esther Okoronkwo then broke the duck in the 40th minute.
The Saint-Étienne striker let fly a free kick on the edge of the box with her left foot that had the ball squirm past the grasps of the Haitian keeper and nestled at the bottom left corner.
Okoronkwo was the match winner when the Falcons defeated Costa Rica 1-0 in the team’s last friendly game of the Revelation Cup in February.
Ajibade went close to doubling the lead but her effort went wide.
Four minutes were added after 45 minutes with Nigeria looking the likelier side to get the next goal but the first half ended that way.
The Haitians threatened to restore parity ten minutes into the second half but former Super Falconets captain, Tosin Demehin headed the ball away from inside the Nigerian box to have the team remain in control.
Asisat Oshoala grabbed her sought-after goal in the 58th minute when she bundled home the ball from a goalmouth scramble.
Returning Super Falcons striker Desire Oparanozie was brought off the substitute bench in place of goalscorer, Okoronkwo in the 65th minute.
Chiamaka Nnadozie was at her best to deny the Haitians two minutes after the change but there was no stopping the opponents who reduced the deficit as they profited from a defensive mixup to get one goal back.
There was frenetic finish to the game as Ajibade and Oshoala missed gilt-edged chances while the Haitians struck the woodwork from range with Chiamaka Nnadozie beaten.
The game ended with a slim Nigerian advantage