Ihezuo Strike Downs Black Princesses
Chinwendu Ihezuo Scores Only Goal In Narrow Win
Pelican Stars forward Chinwendu Ihezuo scored the only goal of the game as the Nigeria U20 women fought hard to edge Ghana U20 women 1-0 in an international friendly match played at the FIFA Goal Project Technical Centre on Sunday.
The friendly was the last of the four series of International matches for the two sides, aimed at getting them prepared for the task ahead.
With a lacklustre display by the Falconets on Friday against Ghana which called for questions from fans on the team's readiness for the Mundial, the Nigerian Team were determined to get it right.
They played an impressive match, forcing their opponents to play a cautious approach at some stage of the game.
Head coach, Peter Dedevbo, who on Friday had expressed displeasure at their performance, rung some key changes to his starting XI.
The first few minutes of the game saw both teams putting frantic efforts to secure a goal but it was the Ghanaian that came close with a shot at goal but goalkeeper Sandra Chiichi of the Falconets was up to the task. She did a bit of a Guillermo Ochoa to leave visitors frustrated.
The hosts did take the lead just before recess, however, when the hardworking Ihezuo bombarded her way into Ghana's area before slipping her shot past the goalkeeper to complete a fine solo goal.
Ghana couldn't find an equaliser in the closing stages as Nigeria held on for a win that should serve as a morale booster ahead of the FIFA U20 tournament in Canada.
The victory over Ghana was something that gave some followers of the game a glimmer of hope.
Falconets have in recent weeks intensified preparations for the 2014 FIFA Under-20 World Cup holding from August 5-24 in Canada.
The Falconets, who are drawn in group C, will open their campaign at the championship on August 6 with a game against Mexico, three days later will face South Korea before rounding off the group stage on August 13 with a tough game against England.
Falconets head coach, Peter Dedevbo, said that his wards played very well against their West African rivals.
"I am impressed with the team's performance today, there was cohesion among the players, they put on a tremendous fight. Though I was not concerned about goals, but rather the physical and mental capability of the team since this is a friendly. The goal however, came and am so happy," Dedevbo said.
He added that the team needs to improve on their execution on the final third.
"They (Falconets) had many scoring chances, but could not execute them well. We shall work on that before the world Cup," the former Nigeria U17 women's boss said..
His counterpart, Bashir Hayford, said the Nigerian side played very well. He further praised his girls and hoped that with the preparations both teams will shine in Canada.
"We lost to a better side, but remember the Falconets are playing at home which was an added advantage. We are going back with some lessons to work on the team for better performance," he said.
The Falconets Line Up:
Sandra Chiichi (90mins), Jiroro Idike (90 mins), Ebere Okoye (62 mins), Asisat Oshoala (90 mins), Victoria Aidelomon (90 mins), Sarah Nnodim (90 mins), Halimat Ayinde (90 mins), Loveth Ayila (65 mins), Chinwendu Ihezou (70 mins), Ogechi Ukuoma (59mins), Yetunde Adeboyejo (60 mins), Ugo Njoku (28mins), Osas Igbinovia (31 mins), Sunday Uchechi (20 mins), Chidinma Edeji(25 mins), Uchenna Kanu (30 mins)