Kyah Simon scored twice as Australia complicated Nigeria’s hopes of advancing into the round of 16 of the Fifa Women’s World Cup on Friday.
The Super Falcons had sought to maintain momentum following their opening Group D draw with the highly rated Sweden but in a game deemed their best chance to consolidate for points; lack of clinical prowess in the attacking third cost the African champions dearly.
After a cagey start in Winnipeg, Desire Oparanozie’s inability to sneak the ball into the Maltidas’ net despite threatening on some few occasions came at a heavy price, as Simon made the most of her opportunity at the other end.
Sweden captain Lisa De Vana drove into Nigeria’s box and placed the ball at the feet of Simon, who lifted the ball beyond Precious Dede into the net.
Nigeria rarely threatened to respond quickly and almost trailed 2-0, but for the intervention of Dede, who smothered Simon’s shot before Vana fired wide from the rebound.
Oparanozie was then denied by a sliding Lydia Williams at the edge of the box and Ngozi Okobi’s volley flew inches wide of goal.
Australia doubled their lead when Samantha Kerr’s lofted ball found an unmarked Simon, who finished off comfortably.
Laura Alleway almost added a third but was left at the mercy of the crossbar.
The defeat means Nigeria need victory against No. 2-ranked USA in their final Group D game to advance. The USWNT were held to a stalemate by Sweden, who are slated for a yet difficult clash with Australia in Edmonton.
The final Group D games are slated for Tuesday, with Nigeria-USA match billed for the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.