Invitational tourney: How Super Falcons succumbed to Jamaica’s defeat

Deneisha Blackwood scored the only goal as Jamaica defeated Nigeria 1-0 in the opening match of the Summer Series that kicked off in Texas.

The Super Falcons started the encounter on a promising note but they failed to convert their chances in the opening 45 minutes as both teams went into the break levelled.

Just before the half-hour mark, Jamaica had an opportunity to go ahead through a penalty, but goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi was composed in between the sticks to parry Blackwood’s strike.

Randy Waldrum’s side eventually paid for their lacklustre attacking play after Blackwood made up for her missed penalty and broke the deadlock at the BBVA Stadium in the 51st minute, courtesy of an assist from Jody Brown.

After finding themselves behind, Waldrum instantly made some changes with Ifeoma Onumonu, Nicole Payne and Amarachi Okoronkwo thrown into the fray but they failed to beat the Reggae Girlz’ defence.

The Jamaicans were solid in defence with crucial blocks to stop the Super Falcons from grabbing an equaliser.

Nigeria’s brightest chance in the second-half came when Vivian Ikechukwu powered in a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area but she was denied by the bar.

They went into Thursday’s clash in Texas without key players namely Barcelona’s Asisat Oshoala, centre-back Onome Ebi goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie while five players including Halimatu Ayinde, Ngozi Okobi, Osinachi Ohale and Uchenna Kanu withdrew earlier this week.

In the absence of Oshoala, Levante forward Francisca Ordega wore the captain’s armband while Switzerland-based defender Onyinyechi Zogg, Rivers Angels winger Vivian Ikechukwu, Finland-born striker Roosa Ariyo and Sunshine FC defender Oluwatosin Dimehin made their starting debuts for the Super Falcons.

The defeat was the first time Nigeria lost a game since their 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup exit against Germany in the Round of 16.

Prior to Thursday’s result, they had played seven matches without losing, which include games at their successful Turkish Women’s Cup outing in Antalya earlier this year.

Waldrum’s ladies will hope to bounce back to winning ways when they battle Portugal at the BBVA Stadium on Sunday – 11.15pm (Nigerian time) before they take on host nation United States of America in the final match of the four-nation competition on June 17 at the Q2 Stadium.