On a day that world-governing body FIFA marked exactly 100 days to the biggest FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in history, Nigeria’s Super Falcons spanked World Cup co-hosts 3-0 in a friendly in Antalya, Turkey that also marked a third consecutive win for the nine-time African champions.
Captain Onome Ebi, who is heading to her sixth FIFA World Cup finals in Australia and New Zealand, headed the Super Falcons in front after 34 minutes at the Mardan Sports Complex, turning the game around after the Ferns had put some pressure on the Nigeria defence in the first quarter-hour.
Spain-based forward Rasheedat Ajibade missed narrowly with a left-footed shot in the 21st minute, but there was no stopping the inspired Ebi 13 minutes later as she nodded in a cross by Toni Payne.
Jennifer Echegini, strong on the left side of the Nigeria defence, made it two for the Super Falcons in the 48th minute after some excellent wing play by Michelle Alozie.
Hannah Wilkinson came close to reducing the tally in the 62nd minute but goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie intervened quickly to keep the scoreline at 2-0.
The Super Falcons continued to launch onslaughts into the Ferns’ half of the field after Gift Monday replaced Asisat Oshoala and Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene came in for Toni Payne, and Glory Ogbonna replaced Michelle Alozie.
Power forward Desire Oparanozie, returning to the fold after 18 months, had the last laugh with a typical goal in added time, holding up the ball and slicing past the goalkeeper even with a defender stuck on her.
The Falcons have now scored six goals in their last three matches, conceding only one.
At the FIFA World Cup finals (from 20 July to 20 August), Nigeria will play in Group B against co-hosts Australia, Republic of Ireland and Canada.