My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Sara Nnodim sent off 69
Abby Wambach 45
Nigeria named three changes from the team that had lost to Australia. Sarah Nnodim, Esther Sunday and Courtney Dike replaced Osinachi Ohale, Halimatu Ayinde and Desire Oparanozie.
USA also made three changes, with Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach came in for Morgan Brian, Sydney Leroux and Christen Press.
USA’s early forays into the Nigerian box were defined by the offside flag, and they should have taken the lead in the 8th minute. Carli Lloyd’s ball into the box found the onside Abby Wambach who headed to the offside Julie Johnston whose goal was rightly ruled out. Wambach really should have tried to score, although the offside margin was minuscule.
Nigeria had a couple of half-chances soon after. The ball never seemed to sit for Courtney Dike in the box, but she wisely passed to Asisat Oshoala whose shot was well saved by Hope Solo. Then Dike’s ball played Oshoala into the penalty area, but her shot was stopped by Johnston’s superb sliding block.
But it was America who were on top. Melanie Rapinoe’s curling shot from 25-yards tested Precious Dede low down at the near post, but the keeper tipped the ball behind.
And then they took the lead with the last kick of the first half. Rapinoe’s corner picked out Wambach at the far post who emphatically scored with a left-footed volley.
USA and Alex Morgan had a couple of chances early in the second half. Her first chance came from an American move that was petering out, and she shot wide. Then Rapinoe played Morgan through one-on-one with the keeper, and she tried to lob the keeper, but Dede just managed to catch the ball.
Nigeria came close from a 25-yard free-kick, but Desiree Oparanozie’s venomous curling shot only just went over.
But it was still America who looked the likelier to score. Some wonderful play from Alex Krieger allowed Lauren Holiday to play the ball across the box to Morgan, but her shot was superbly save from close distance by Dede.
And then Nigeria were down to 10 players. Sara Nnodim, who had been booked in the first half for a foul on Tobin Heath, brought down Sydney Leroux just outside the box. The referee had little alternative but to show the Nigerian her second yellow. Holiday whipped in the free-kick which Dede saved.
Nigeria did create one more chance. On the right-wing, Evelyn Nwabuoku passed to Francisca Ordega in the box, but her shot was first blocked and then cleared by Johnston.
Julie Johnston – USA
Julie Johnston – USA
Nigeria: (4-4-2) Precious Dede, Sarah Nnodim, Josephine Chukwunonye, Onome Ebi, Ngozi Ebere, Francisca Ordega (Cecilia Nku 77), Evelyn Nwabuoku (c), Ngozi Okobi, Esther Sunday (Halimatu Ayinde 50), Courtney Dike (Desiree Oparanozie 50), Asisat Oshoala.
Booked: Sarah Nnodim 38, Onome Ebi 43, Josephine Chukwunonye 60, Ngozi Okobi 68.
Sent-off: Sarah Nnodim 69.
USA: (4-4-2) Hope Solo, Alex Krieger, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg, Melanie Rapinoe (Shannon Boxx 74), Lauren Holiday, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath (Christie Rampone 80), Abby Wambach (c), Alex Morgan (Sydney Leroux 66).
Goals: Abby Wambach 45.
The Editor of Tartan Kicks, the magazine dedicated to Scottish Women's Football