The Super Falcons put up a masterful display to zoom to the summit of their group with 4 points following a fan-pleasing 3:2 comeback win against hosts Australia today.
Below is my rather brief compilation of Player ratings:
1. Chiamaka Nnadozie (6/10): She pulled off routine and some tricky saves. Looking very assured, Nnadozie continues to exude confidence. But her precarious long ball led to a goal while she was in no-woman's land for the corner kick for Australia's second goal.
2. Ashleigh Plumptre (6/10): The fact she was beaten in a number of 1 on 1 situations does not diminish the overall quality she brought to bear on and off the ball. Plumptre always sought to support the team's transition to attack.
3. Tosin Demehin (5.5/10): Despite a jittery start, Demehin grew in confidence as the game wore on. She contributed her fair share of defensive duties in keeping Australia at bay as her partnership with Ohale continues to grow in leaps and bounds.
4.Osinachi Ohale (7/10): Her presence in the early stages helped to calm the nerves of Demehin. She took a whack for her goal that was taken with a centre forward's tenacity. A true leader, Ohale can be proud of her overall contributions today at either side of the pitch.
5. Michelle Alozie (6.5/10): Despite initial anxieties going into the tournament, Alozie has grown into a solid fullback with today's display underscoring this. Okay, Australia's first goal passed through her territory, Alozie posted a solid defensive display in this game. The Australians struggled to breach her area while she supported the attack at times, even having a long range shot sail wide.
6. Christie Ucheibe (8/10): This lady has to make the tournament's team of the group stages. Her dispensation of her centre defensive duties is top notch. Her availability to support the centre defence is otherworldly. The grouds she covers are remarkable. Blocking, shielding, intercepting and booting away dangerous balls encapsulated Ucheibe's output today.
7. Halimat Ayinde (7/10): I lost count of the number of times Ayinde tracked back to bail out Plumptre and other defenders. She kept it simply and effective in winning back position and sending the ball on its way. This lady has bags of pace and, on the evidence of this performances, I struggle to see how Abiodun would yank the starting 11 slot from Ayinde.
8. Rasheedat Ajibade (8.5/10): what a performance. She was the proverbial thorn in the flesh of the Australians with marauding penetrative runs, multiple delicious crosses and pullbacks, long range shots and eloquence in ball control. One official assist and a second unofficial assists today shows why Ajibade was one of the standout performers today.
9. Toni Payne (7.5/10): Her suitability for the centre attacking midfield role is now undeniable. Payne dominated her area with delicate ball control and fluidity that was instrumental in Nigeria's attacking initiatives. Once in flight, it was tricky to try to stop her without risking a freekick in a dangerous area. A delicious through pass almost found Onumonu in the first half before a superb long ball caused chaos before Oshoala pounced and scored.
10. Ifeoma Onumonu (5.5/10): She made herself available for a number of passes into dangerous areas. She helped Nigeria press from the front and even helped retrieve possession at times. On the wings she helped the team maintain its shape. All in all, she wasn't as influential in this game as perhaps against Canada.
11. Uchenna Kanu (6/10): She was well caged in the left wing but found a new lease of life on the right where she pounced on a lose ball to poke home at close range. I had expected Kanu to impose herself on this game but she made few mistakes earlier on with her passes, ball control and decision making. She redeemed herself with the well taken strike and did pose sporadic problems to Australia before being subbed.
12. Glory Ogbonna (5/10): She seemed slightly erratic in the execution of her defensive duties. She was chopping at the bit to get stuck in which robbed her game of finesse. But her professionalism wasn't in doubt.
13. Onome Ebi (5/10): Her presence failed to help the team prevent Australia's second goal. She added body to the defence and support the team in preventing a seemingly possible Australian comeback.
14. Asisat Oshoala (7.5/10): She tracked back to help the midfield on occasions where defending was priority. Her decision making was suspect as there were times when laying a pass would having been better than chasing a lost cause. Her Patented run, bully tactics and keen eye for goal gave Nigeria an unassailable lead.
15. Jennifer Echegini (6/10): She slotted into midfield seemlessly but didn't seem to enjoy the defensive aspect. But she got stuck in and put her body on the line when the situation called for it.
16. Esther Okoronkwo (5/10): She tried to find her feet severally as she helped the team see out the game with an admirable display. She was competent enough on the ball and she really helped the team maintain its shape.
Randy Waldrum (8/10): His 4-1-4-1 in game formation when the team is not in possession is working wonders. Orchestrating the change of position between Kanu and Ajibade led to the opening goal. Introduction of Oshoala led to the final goal. Instructions given to Ayinde and Ucheibe to support the defence is tactical Gold. Organisation is the game, Randy Waldrum is the name.