Nigeria impress with opening win
A goal in each half saw Nigeria commence their 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory over Korea Republic in Saitama to take an early lead at the top of Group B.
Ngozi Okobi opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark, while Desire Oparanozie extended the advantage midway through the second period.
The Nigerians, backed by a buoyant and colourful band of supporters, went ahead following smart work from Francisca Ordega on the right side of the box, with the midfielder playing a perfect low ball across the face of goal for Okobi to score.
With Okobi, Ordega and Oparanozie all dangerous in possession, Nigeria provided a regular threat, although Korea Republic, with their short-passing game in evidence, provided a tough opponent for the 2010 runners-up.
However, Korea Republic suffered a massive blow in the latter stages of the first half with midfield schemer Yeo Minji, the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup adidas Golden Ball winner, forced off with injury.
Nigeria claimed a deserved second with Ebere Orji’s cross into the penalty finding Oparanozie who scored with a stylish header. Late chances went the way of Esther Sunday but Nigeria had to make do with a 2-0 scoreline.
“This was the planned result,” said Nigeria coach Okon Edwin. “We’ve even improved compared to last World Cup and we’ll try to do better than that, which means that we want to do better than second place."