African champions, Nigeria, turned on the style to thrash Mali 8-0 in an All Africa Games qualifier in Abuja on Friday.
The Super Falcons were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw by the Malians in the first leg in Bamako three weeks ago. Nigeria’s head coach, Edwin Okon, took no chances in the return fixture, calling up big guns, Desire Oparanozie and reigning African footballer of the year, Asisat Oshoala, to shore up his squad for Friday’s game.
The Europe-based stars did not disappoint, putting in peerless performances and bagging respective braces to give the Malians a bashing they will not forget in a hurry.
En Avant Guingamo striker, Oparanozie, looked like a lady in a hurry as she prodded home barely three minutes in at the Abuja National Stadium to give the hosts an early lead. Fifteen minutes later, it was 2-0 to Nigeria, with Francesca Ordega getting a goalscoring contribution to practically put the tie to bed.
Oshoala, a live wire all evening, was always going to score and duly got her due in the 36th minute via a tap in from close range after an exemplary bit of play from Oparanozie.
The African champions were not taking their foot off the gas and a minute before the interval, Oshoala provided a stunning assist for Oparanozie to complete her brace.
The Malians, at this stage, had their tails firmly in between their legs but more was to come. It was now a question of how many goals the Falcons would score on the day and they soon got their fifth through the impressive Oshoala, a minute after the interval.
Ordega then completed her brace in the 62nd minute as the dispirited Malians unsuccessfully tried to keep the rampant Nigerians at bay.
Nigeria captain, Evelyn Nwabuoku, led by example and scored the goal of the game – a pile driver from range – to make the score 7-0 in the 69th minute.
It was now getting embarrassing for the Malians who were soon 0-8 down after substitute, Esther Sunday, scored a simple goal, 19 minutes from time.
The Falcons thus completed a 9-1 aggregate and sent a stern message, which will reverberate all across the continent.
Culled from: The Eagle Online