Super Falcons of Nigeria claimed their first win at the ongoing Women's Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco on Thursday, beating Botswana 2-0.
Goals in either half from Ifeanyi Onumonu and substitute Christy Ucheibe steered the champions to victory at Stade Moulay Hassan in Rabat.
Randy Waldrum's ladies suffered an opening match day defeat to South Africa and needed all three points against Botswana to stand a good chance of progressing from the group.
Meanwhile, the defeat to South Africa came at a cost as the Champions lost defender Ashleigh Plumptre and Asisat Oshoala to injuries, with the latter ruled out of the tournament entirely.
Asides those two absentees for this crucial game, Waldrum named a near similar starting XI as goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnandozie returned from suspension to start, while Ngozi Okobi was also drafted in.
Nigeria started with more urgency and dominated the early exchanges but without breakthrough. They relied a dead balls to trouble the Botswana backline but the young side stood strong.
Nigeria would eventually get their goal when Halimatu Ayinde sent a gorgeous ball to Onumonu, who then turned nicely before finishing aplomb in the 21st minute.
The goal came as a relief for the Super Falcons who came under serious backlash from the fans back at home after the opening day loss
Not much happened after the goal as the Botswanas stayed compact and denied Nigeria the space to fashion out goal scoring chances against them.
At the break, coach Waldrum sent in Christy Ucheibe in place of Rita Chikwelu and she made an instant impact as she headed home a corner from Tony Payne.
From that moment on, Nigeria seized possession and started toiling with their less fancied opposition. They kept it simple and made sure they clinched a clean sheet as well.
By virtue of the win, Nigeria moved up to second place and will now face the whipping side of the group Burundi to book their place in the quarterfinals.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago