Rasheedat Ajibade scored a late equaliser as the Super Falcons rallied to hold Portugal in a thrilling 3-3 draw in their second WNT Summer Series game at the BBVA Stadium in Houston.
Both side’s had lost their opening games at the tournament by identical 1-0 score lines, Nigeria to Jamaica and Portugal to hosts and World Champions the USA and were looking for their first wins in the four-nation tournament.
The Falcons were quick off the block and nearly took the lead in the sixth-minute but Atletico Madrid striker Ajibade was thwarted by Portugal goalkeeper Ines Pereira before Michelle Alozie missed a good chance four minutes later.
An end-to-end opening saw Falcons goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi make a great one-on-one save to deny Portugal before Nigeria captain Asisat Oshoala, who only joined the team on Sunday morning, was foiled at the other end.
It was the Europeans that found the breakthrough, however, as Chidinma Okeke’s unfortunate own goal gave Neto Francisco’s side a 22nd-minute lead and captain Carole Costa doubled their lead when she nodded home Andreia Jacinto’s free kick twelve minutes later.
The Europeans nearly scored a third soon after but Jessica Silva could only fire wide after rounding Oluehi in the Falcons’ goal.
That miss proved crucial as Nigeria pulled one back moments later with Michelle Alozie firing home from Rita Chikwelu’s centre after good work from Toni Payne in the build up.
The Europeans continued from where they left off after the break, restoring their two goal lead four minutes after the restart with Encarnacao dinking a cute effort above Oluehi following a defensive error from substitute Onyinyechi Zogg.
The goal seemed to sting the Falcons into action as they besieged the Portuguese goal with Ajibade, Oshoala and Alozie going close.
The pressure eventually told as Diana Gomes turned Ajibade’s cross into her own net in the 52nd-minute.
With time running out and with victory within touching distance for Portugal, Melissa Gomes’ unfortunate effort to locate a teammate in her half was intercepted by Gift Monday, who started a sequence that ended with Ajibade firing home in the sixth minute of added time to spark jubilant scenes from the Nigerians.
The Super Falcons next face hosts USA in their final game on Wednesday at the Q2 Stadium in Austin.