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Norway cruise to easy 3-0 win over Nigeria


Nigeria’s goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi (second left) makes a save during the 2019 Women’s World Cup Group A football match against Norway, at the Auguste-Delaune Stadium in Reims, eastern France, yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

Norway scored three first-half goals on the way to an easy win over Nigeria in their opening Group A game at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in Reims.

The 1995 world champions took the lead when Guro Reiten’s shot deflected off Onome Ebi into the net.Lisa-Marie Utland fired through the hands of keeper Tochukwu Oluehi to make it 2-0 before an own goal by Osinachi Ohale compounded Nigeria’s misery.

With their victory, Norway are level on points with hosts France, who they face on Wednesday.Ingrid Hjelmseth, Norway’s 39-year-old goalkeeper, had little to do as Nigeria struggled to carve out chances.On a bad night for the African champions, defender Faith Michael was carried off on a stretcher after being caught by team-mate Oluehi.

One of the main reasons Nigeria struggled to break Norway down in the game was the centre-back pairing of Maren Mjelde and Maria Thorisdottir. The fearless twosome are great individually, but the fact that they play their club football together for Chelsea gave them an almost telepathic understanding at the heart of the Norwegian rearguard.

It was indeed a tough night for captain Desire Oparanozie, who worked hard but saw little of the ball to allow her to show off her talents. Uchenna Kanu came with strong goal-scoring form after her goals helped Nigeria win the West African Football Union Women’s Cup in May. But she failed to deliver when it mattered most.


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