Nigeria’s Super Falcons overcame a first half two goals deficit to draw Sweden 3-3 in a thrilling opening Group D game of the 2015 FIFA women’s World Cup played at Winnipeg Stadium, Winnipeg, Canada on Monday night.
Desire Oparanozie’s 21st minute own-goal and Nilla Fischer’s 31st minute tap-in had handed the Swedes a 2-0 first half lead and on the cusp of another triumph over the African champions. But the tide began to turn when Ngozi Okobi fired past Hedvig Lindahl in the 50th minute to make it 2-1 before Asisat Oshoala drew levels for Nigeria three minutes later.
The African champions were still basking in the euphoria of cancelling out two-goals deficit when substitute Linda Sembrant fired the Europeans back in the lead in the 60th minute and Super Falcons appeared destined to lose the epic tie until Francisca Ordega drew level with sublime finish through the legs of Lindahl with three minutes of regulation time remaining. The Falcons held back to draw the game 3-3 to cap a memorable come-back just as it ended when both teams played their first match against each other in China in 2007.
The Super Falcons will confront Australia in the second group game in Winnipeg on Friday before heading to Vancouer to play USA. A victory over Australia will automatically guarantee the Falcons a place in the Round of 16, ahead of their clash with USA next week Tuesday.
By Olisemeka Obeche