UEFA Women’s Champions League: US-based Oshoala wins Goal of the Season

Nigerian forward Asisat Oshoala has been crowned queen of wonder goals after her stunning bicycle kick for Barcelona against Benfica in the opening match of the 2023/24 UEFA Women's Champions League was named Goal of the Season.

The audacious strike, which sealed a dominant 5-0 victory for the Blaugrana, wasn't just a thing of beauty, it also played a part in propelling Barcelona to their second consecutive Champions League title.

Introduced as a substitute with the score already a comfortable 4-0 by coach Jonatan Giráldez, Oshoala wasted no time making her mark. She cemented her impact on the game with a moment of brilliance, leaving the crowd gasping with her acrobatic finish. It was her only goal in two appearances for Barcelona before her mid-season switch to American outfit Bay FC, but what a goal it was!

UEFA officially declared Oshoala's wonder strike as the most aesthetically pleasing of the entire competition on Monday. Other contenders for the prestigious award included teammate Aitana Bonmatí's strike against Brann in the quarter-finals (second place) and Lyon's Delphine Cascarino's long-range effort against Benfica (third place).

Oshoala's impact at Barcelona goes beyond that single wonder goal, however. She etched her name in the club's history books by becoming the first African player to lift the UWCL trophy three times. Remarkably, she even received a winner's medal despite her transfer to Bay FC midway through the season. Across her two Champions League appearances this season, she played a crucial role in the group stage, scoring once before making the move to the United States.

Looking at her entire five-year stint at Barcelona, Oshoala's trophy cabinet is overflowing with success. She secured a historic three Champions League titles and a staggering four Primera División championships, bringing her total tally to an impressive 15 titles with the Catalan giants.

A true legend of African football, Oshoala has also solidified her status as a six-time African Women's Footballer of the Year, having previously graced the pitches for Liverpool, Arsenal, and China's Dalian Quanjian.

Life in the National Women's Soccer League

Months after her move from FC Barcelona to Bay FC in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), Nigerian forward Asisat Oshoala has shed light on her decision to switch leagues.

Oshoala signed a contract with Bay FC until 2026 with an option for an additional year. This marked the end of a successful five-year run with Barcelona, where she initially joined on loan in January 2019 before becoming a permanent fixture.

Explaining her decision to leave Spain for the United States, the 29-year-old told the Attacking Third podcast: “I stayed five years in Barcelona and that's the longest I've stayed in a club, to be honest. I feel I just want to change, I want to try something different. I just want to have fun and also when I was presented the project of this club, I liked it and I decided to go for it.”

Oshoala's impact at Bay FC has been undeniable. Since joining the team, she has already notched two goals and one assist in just ten league appearances. This impressive start highlights her ability to adapt and thrive in a new environment.

Bay FC, a newly established club founded in April 2023, are reaping the benefits of Oshoala's experience and talent. Her presence adds a significant attacking weapon to their arsenal as they navigate their inaugural season in the NWSL. 

Asisat Oshoala to lead Super Falcons at Paris 2024 Olympics

A nail-biting two-legged qualifier against South Africa, decided by a solitary penalty from Rasheedat Ajibade, has secured Nigeria's long-awaited return to the Olympic stage. This marks the Super Falcons' first appearance at the Games since Beijing 2008, a 16-year absence.

This resurgence comes on the heels of a spirited performance at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, a tournament that seemingly reignited the fire within Africa's most decorated women's football team. Paris 2024 presents a golden opportunity to build upon this recent progress, as they find themselves pitted against Spain, Japan, and Brazil in Group C.

The Super Falcons will be relying on a potent blend of youthful exuberance and seasoned experience to usher in a potentially golden era. Last summer's World Cup served as a testament to this strategy.

Asisat Oshoala wins UWCL goal of the season
Photo by Icon Sport

Undoubtedly the team's star player is Asisat Oshoala, a 29-year-old force of nature who has amassed a staggering 37 goals in over 60 appearances for the national team. Beyond her prowess as a goal scorer, Oshoala boasts an impressive trophy cabinet. Her five-year tenure at FC Barcelona yielded five Primera División titles, three UEFA Champions League triumphs, and a collection of other accolades. This kind of decorated pedigree is invaluable to any team, and the Super Falcons are no exception.

Oshoala's experience will undoubtedly prove crucial in nurturing the development of young forwards like Gift Monday, who currently plies her trade in Spain for UD Tenerife. Monday's promising start, with five goals and an assist in the league, suggests she has the potential to follow in the footsteps of the veteran striker.

Avatar photo
Toyosi Afolayan

Toyosi Afolayan is a sports journalist who breathes life into the games we love. He loves to combine insightful analysis with historical background, creating a richer understanding of sports. Afolayan's expertise ranges from captivating narratives to live broadcasts, captivating audiences across platforms like Ojbsport, AllNigeriaSoccer, TVC Entertainment, Bounce Networks, Kwara TV, ICIR, EaglesTracker, and NFF TV. His background in History and International Studies adds depth, revealing the connections between sports, politics, and national identity.