Nigeria Glides Over Mali at Opening match of Aisha Buhari Cup

September 16 05:30 2021

Nigeria women’s national team eventually secured a clinical 2-0 triumph over Mali in the Aisha Buhari Cup opener in the presence of CAF president Patrice Motsepe and FIFA supremo Gianni Infantino in Lagos on Wednesday.

Frustrated by their winless three-match campaign at the US Summer Series in June, the Super Falcons welcomed the Eagles to Mobolaji Johnson Arena with the aim of returning to winning ways.

Despite boasting numerous scoring chances, the wasteful hosts were unable to get the ball past the Malian defence and the first half ended 0-0 amidst several threats made by Aissata Traore.

At the start of the second half, Randy Waldrum made four changes to his side and 77th minute substitute Gift Monday, who replaced Francisca Ordega handed the host a shock lead through Asisat Oshoala assist in the 82nd minute.

On the brink of full time, Oshoala’s back header fell in the direction of Monday, who eventually lobbed the ball over Karentaq Fatoumata to guarantee the win.

Thanks to Monday’s brace, the African champions have extended their head to head advantage over the Eagles to a sixth consecutive clinical triumph since 2015.

Next up for Waldrum’s ladies is a showdown at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena where they take on Desiree Ellis’ South Africa on September 21.

Two days earlier, Mali, on their own part will also look to avenge their 2021 doubleheader friendly defeats to 2022 TotalEnergies Africa Women’s Cup of Nations hosts, Morocco when they lock horns at the same venue.

What they said

Nigeria coach Randy Waldrum

“We didn’t have a great start but we did a much better job in the second half. Credit to Mali because they really impressed and closed the space quickly. We made some changes in the second half and we were much better. Little disappointed in the first half but extremely proud of the response in the second.”

Nigeria’s Gift Monday

“What inspired me most was playing on my home ground (Lagos) and representing my country, so, I had to give my best. I was relaxed despite I was the last (substitute) and the instruction given to me going into the match by the coach (Randy Waldrum) was what I executed.

Mali coach Saloum Mohammed Houssein

“I’m disappointed in the result against Nigeria but still pleased with the performance of my team. It’s also encouraging that we didn’t lose by a wide margin. When we used to play against Nigeria, we used to lose up to 6 to 8 nil. All the areas we didn’t do well enough, we will go back to training to perfect them before the next game (against Morocco). We brought here our junior team as we are building a team for the future.”

Mali striker Aissata Traore

“I’m not disappointed about the loss to Nigeria. I am a footballer and I’m here to make impact. Everything we’ve done today was just to make our country proud. That we didn’t win today (Wednesday) is not the end of the world. I’m here to do more for my country.”

Schedule – Mobolaji Johnson Arena

Cameroon vs Morocco – Thursday September 16

South Africa vs Ghana – Friday September 17

Morocco vs Mali – Sunday September 19

Cameroon vs Ghana – Monday September 20

Nigeria vs South Africa – Tuesday September 21
credit: cafonline

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