Asisat Oshoala produced a moment of magic as Nigeria got its Women’s World Cup campaign up and running by seeing off South Korea 2-0 in Grenoble Wednesday.
The Super Falcons, beaten in its opening game by Norway, bounced back courtesy of an own-goal by Korea’s Kim Do-yeun and Oshoala’s fine second half strike.
Oshoala, who won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the under-20 World Cup in 2014, underlined her reputation as one of the most exciting players in the game by sealing her team’s victory by rounding off a fine Nigerian move 15 minutes from time.
The 24-year-old, a three-time African footballer of the year, raced onto the Chidinma Okeke’s perfect through ball before accelerating away from her marker and rolling the ball past the goalkeeper.
Oshoala, who signed a three-year deal with Barcelona last month after an impressive spell on loan from Chinese club Dalian Quanjian, has enjoyed a stellar season.
During her four-month spell at Barcelona, she scored eight goals in 11 appearances and helped the club reach the Champions League final.
She also became the first African woman to play and score in the final of the competition though it was not enough to prevent a 4-1 defeat by French side Lyon Feminines.
Her goal capped a miserable afternoon for the Koreans which had gifted its opponent a 29th minute lead through Kim’s own-goal.
Its frustration was further increased when Lee Geu-min’s strike was ruled out for offside with her side trailing 1-0.
The defeat all but ends South Korea’s hopes of qualifying for the next stage after it was thrashed by host nation France in the opening game of the tournament.
It also leaves Korea, ranked 14th in the world, without a point or goal to its name.
Nigeria will take on France in its final group game on Monday while South Korea takes on Norway.
Here’s we give each Nigeria player a rating out of 10 for their performance…
Chiamaka Nnadozie: At 18 years and 186 days, Chiamaka Nnadozie has become the youngest ever goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in a Women’s World Cup game. She was outstanding for the Falcons. 8/10
Chidinma Okeke: The versatile player put up a great shift at right back. Her excellent assist to Oshoala capped a great day in office. 8.5/10
Ebere Ngozi: Ebere was fantastic for Nigeria in game. Defensively solid, her surging runs down the left wing opened up avenues of attack for Nigeria. 8.5/10
Onome Ebi: When you need the veterans to come up with the goods, they show it. The Henan central defender was tireless at the back with some useful blocks. 8/10
Osinachi Ohale: Limited the Koreans to few chances. Ohale did not give away a single foul throughout the 90 minutes. 7.5/10
Rita Chikwelu: The Kristianstad midfielder kept things ticking over nicely in midfield, completing 45 of her 50 passes. Her long pass was turned home for an own by Kim.
Chinaza Uchendu: Created two chances and her tenacity set the tone, ensuring Nigeria did not underestimate the Asian side. 7/10
Ngozi Okobi: Okobi struck up a partnership with Uchendu and Chikwelu. She was hardworking. 7/10
Asisat Oshoala: The Barcelona forward
seamlessly transferred her club form to the international stage. Scored the insurance goal her industrious performance deserved, on another day she could have had a hat-trick. 9/10
Francisca Ordega: Had two shots on target saved and created two chances. She was positive for her team. 8/10
Desire Oparanozie: The forward impressed with her body front and hold up play. She threatened the Koreans.
Halimatu Ayinde – 6, Uchenna Kanu – 5, Anam Imo – 5