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2022 WAFCON Qualifiers: Onumonu Bags Brace, Plumptre Shines As Falcons Claim First-Leg Win Over CIV

2022 WAFCON Qualifiers: Onumonu Bags Brace, Plumptre Shines As Falcons Claim First-Leg Win Over CIV

A brace from American-born striker Ifeoma Onumonu earned the Super Falcons of Nigeria a 2-0 win against Côte d’Ivoire, in the first leg final round qualifiers for the 2022 Women’s Cup of Nations, at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja on Friday,Completesports.com reports.

Leicester City defender Ashleigh Plumptre made her competitive debut for the Falcons and gave a five-star performance.

The Falcons were without regulars like Asisat Oshoala, Francesca Ordega and Desire Oparanozie.

Onumonu broke the deadlock in the 21st minute after finishing off from close range off a pass from Esther Okoronkwo inside the box.

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In the 51st minute Côte d’Ivoire went close to equalizing but brilliant defending by Michelle Alozie which was followed by a fine save from Chiamaka Nnadozie denied the visitors.

Onumonu got her second goal to put the Falcons 2-0 ahead on 56 minutes as she lobbed the ball over the Ivorian goalkeeper.

The Ivorians bossed the closing stages of the game but the Falcons defense held firm to see out the encounter.

Both teams will meet again on Tuesday, February 22 for the return leg in Abidjan.

The winner between the Falcons and Côte d’Ivoire will qualify for this year’s Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco.

The 2022 WAFCON, which will hold from 2nd to 23rd in July, will also serve as qualifiers for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Semi-finalists at the WAFCON will qualify for the World Cup while two more teams will advance to the Inter-confederation play-offs.

By James Agberebi

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  • How do you play such an important match without your best legs!!?? Mr Waldrum, what happened to Oshoala, Desire, Ajibade and Ordega!!!?? These are the kernel of the team ke. They can change the game fortune.

    • Greenturf 2 years ago

      Oshoala hurt her hamstring in training.
      Better without her as her direct replacement shone and scored a brace.Oshoala form for the super falcons has deeped who knows had she started we may have drawn the game.

      • Moses Inyang 2 years ago

        What about the others?

        • Greenturf 2 years ago

          We have not seen the line up yet until then would be hard to know regulars that didn’t feature.

  • Welcome girls.

    I know that most of the key girls were not around for today’s match. This is the reason Facons has to source for more players home and abroad ilme Super Eagles.

    Africa women football has developed and if we continue like this falcon May not win this year women afcon.

    Girls, you need to prepare very well for the second leg. It’s going to be tough.

    Once again, well done.

  • See how foreign born players are shining like a star for falcon, if it was se now, some ex would have seen reasons why homebase should be considered ahead of them.

    • Moses Inyang 2 years ago

      Tell them please.Senegal had several foreign born players in their AFcon winning squad. it is always instructive to play with your best legs.Let us leave every sentiment. Only the best is good for us at all times.Tribal,ethnic,religious,personal preferences and all other sentiments will always fail.let us always field the best even if we don’t like some people.the interest of the nation far exceeds these sentiments

  • _Nigeria 2:0 Ivory Coast: Review_

    The Super Falcons of Nigeria have one tusk in Afcon qualification after a delicious brace from Ifeoma Onumonu gave them a commanding 1st leg win against the Lady Elephants of Ivory Coast on Friday.

    With so much riding on the outcome of this match, the Super Falcons gave themselves breathing space ahead of the second leg next Tuesday in Abidjan.

    To be honest, I was left rather unimpressed by the brand of football espoused by Waldrum’s Super Falcons in an evening where Ivory Coast appeared more coherent in their play despite going down to a two goals deficit. In truth, the Super Falcons cannot sleep with both eyes closed ahead of the second half as they have much work to do.

    The outcome of this duel is far from settled.

    In the last qualifiers against Ghana, Nigeria actually lost the second leg but only advanced on aggregate scoreline. The Lady Elephants of Ivory Coast look like a side capable of scoring more than 2 goals at home, so Waldrum and his ladies are on notice!

    This first leg at the newly revamped Abuja stadium was initially a brutally physical affair to which both teams tried to stamp their authority. Both sides were perhaps too pumped up for the encounter leading to tackles flying in left right and centre – at times it was almost like watching female Mix Martial Art fighters slugging it out.

    But Nigeria, at that point, tried to get a foothold in the encounter and dictated the tempo somewhat. Even at that, the first big chance went to Ivory Coast who tested goalkeeper Nnadozie with a neat effort, a telling affirmation of their intentions.

    Nigeria did find the back of the net only for the referee to pull play back for an infraction against Ajibade in the build up, much to the frustration and anger of Nigerian fans and players who were left bemused at such a weird decision.

    Deep in the first half, both teams continued to size each other up. Nigeria elected to strangle Ivory Coast attacking initiatives from the midfield as they double teamed the Francophone players any time they had possession.

    Although this wasn’t beautiful football, Waldrum’s plan was clear: to dominate the midfield and not allow Ivory Coast’s attacking initiatives to see the light of day.

    Even at that, Nigeria exhibited defensive frailties, particularly at right fullback where the defender was given a torrid time.

    Despite taking the lead in 21 minutes courtesy of a cultured finish by Onumonu, Waldrum’s Falcons lacked cohesion and composure. Their attacking initiatives didn’t look coherent and they definitely lacked the swagger, finesse and flair associated with Nigerian sides.

    There wasn’t a period where the stadium where Nigeria fans felt their side was railroading the opposition. Celebrations did follow both goals scored by Onumonu and there were periods when cheers of appreciation followed decent moves from the likes Ajibade and Plumptre.

    But that exhilarating sounds of ‘Heee!’ Heee! Heee! from Nigeria fans that would ring loud whenever the Super Eagles or Falcons are running rings around opponents was nowhere to be heard.

    Even though leading in the scoreline, the Super Falcons were lacklustre and have been like that under Randy Waldrum.

    Some of Nigeria’s tackles inside the 18 yard box were last-minute and VAR reviews may have awarded a penalty to Ivory Coast on another day. Also, the Falcons gave away freekicks in dangerous areas close to their box 18. Other opponents will make them suffer for this.

    That said, in the second half, there were periods when the Falcons kept the ball on grass to dictate the tempo and take the battle to Ivory Coast.

    But Ivory Coast still looked the most composed and polished, so, Nigeria’s second goal in 56 minutes came against the run of play. Just before it came, Nigeria were under siege from a relentless wave of Ivory Coast assault.

    But there was still time for Nigeria’s corner kicks and long balls from deep to cause problems for Ivory Coast, one of which actually led to the second goal.

    In summary, the Super Falcons attacking plot/initiative wasn’t easy to decipher from a fan’s perspective. Their midfield play was characterised more by crunching tackles rather than eloquent interplay of passes that would have delighted me. The team lacked poise and elegance in their play. They were often incoherent in their build up play. First touches of some players left a lot to be desired and they looked suspect at the back.

    But, most importantly, they got the job done.

    The Super Falcons anticipated an overly physical encounter from Ivory Coast, hence they were ready to match it.

    This 2:0 win is slim. With home support, more clinical finishes and a sympathetic referee, the Lady Elephants have what it takes to turn the tide in the second leg.

    But, what Randy’s Falcons showed today is shrewdness and a killer instinct. Should they take the same attitude to the second leg, then the Afcon ticket should be theirs.

    • Mr. Nice 2 years ago

      My brother that is the clear difference between a tactically sound coach and a local coach, football this days is all about result and not some bunch of average players expressing themselves on the pitch, even Jay-Jay okocha with all his mesmerizing display didn’t win ordinary Africa footballer of the year, kudus to coach Randy, the result is a proof of good tactical prowess.

  • MONKEY POST 2 years ago

    What ever y’all were told about Oshoala’s absence is just a cover up.The truth is Oshoala is going through some mental health issues. Psychologically she was not ready, so she was excuse from the game.

    She tweeted earlier before the match of which she immediately deleted: Life is so unfair…Tired of trying.

    • MONKEY POST 2 years ago

      It was a cryptic and suidal tweet. And this will not be the first time she tweeted something like this. She has been battling from this mental health issues for years.

  • MONKEY POST 2 years ago


  • It is high time the NFF sacked the oyinbo coach to avoid disaster and appoint our own who knows how to play beautiful football that is pleasing to the eye lol

  • Michel 2 years ago

    This oyibo coach seems like another genart rohr

  • Ako AMADI 2 years ago

    None of the people posting comments here saw the game.

    • Igbekun Abo 2 years ago

      @Ako Amadi me sef weak o. People wey no watch match go come out to dey yearn dust. Lolzzzz. Super Falcons were superb. Person wey talk something else need glasses. ZA za za za za!
      Heaven bless Super Falcons and all deserving Nigerian women players.

  • pompei 2 years ago

    Two well taken goals from Onumonu aka ONUGOAL.
    Problem: There exists another ONUGOAL in the person of Onuachu.
    Maybe we can call her ONU-NET, loooool.
    Onumonu has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. The 2nd goal was particularly impressive. Not an easy strike, yet she accomplished it adroitly. Calm and collected finisher.
    Chiamaka Nnadozie made some important saves today, and once again shows why any side needs reliable hands between the sticks. If Nnadozie was NNA-BASKET today, the game could easily have ended 2-2, or in a defeat for the Super Falcons.
    Plumptre had a good debut. Stood firm when the occasion called for it. Was also a threat whenever we had set pieces, looking to use her height to nick a goal.
    What Plumptre needs to improve on is pace. She was beaten for pace on a few occasions, and was bailed out by the ever alert goalie Nnadozie. Against faster, more clinical forwards, she will struggle. Plumptre will become a better defender if she improves in this regard.
    Overall, a workman-like performance by our ladies. Effective, without being flamboyant. A good lead to take into the 2nd leg.
    Warning: this Ivorian side play good football, and are quite capable of turning the tie on it’s head if our ladies become complacent. The Super Falcons need to stay focused.

    • Pompei, CAF ought to be ashamed of themselves for this criminal zonal qualification format. Can you just imagine that one of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria will not be at the Afcon and consequently miss the world cup. I am sorry for my strong language but WAFU officials must have been crazy to have signed up to such a West African-detrimental qualification framework.

      Looking at the Ivory Coast team today, those ladies were amazing: very skillful, compact, purposeful, daring and disciplined. It is such a shame that such a side could miss out on the Afcon. Despite the scoreline, they can hold their heads high, with high hopes of turning the table in their own backyard.

      The return leg promises to be harrowing and nail-biting: I can’t wait!

      What they lacked was cutting edge and their goalkeeper was a bit naive and fragile.

      This crazy CAF formula is almost like grouping Germany,Italy,Spain and France in Euro qualifiers so that only one of them will only ever qualify for the tournament proper – how stupid is that?

      Ghana – from what they played particularly in the second leg against Nigeria – definitely deserves to be in the Afcon. For me, it will be a shame to see such a promising set of ladies like this Ivory Coast team miss the Afcon but, hey, I am Nigerian so my loyalty is wedged to my motherland.

      But, seriously, CAF can’t be allowed to get away with this. All I can call it is broad day robbery.

      • pompei 2 years ago

        I couldn’t agree more. I don’t know what the logic is for this kind of arrangement.
        The best teams should be competing on the biggest stage, not knocking each other out in the qualifiers!

      • Monday Odang 2 years ago

        Agree with you dear

      • Alex Osale 2 years ago

        True talk. Absolute rubbish by CAF. How do you come up with a plan to deny your best teams the opportunity to represent Africa at the global stage. Shame on CAF

  • Ayphillydegreat 2 years ago

    Honestly whoever made this arrangement that West African giants should be facing each other to qualify for a 16 team female AWCON must surely be criticized.

    Top African female teams like Ghana, Ivory Coast or Nigeria will miss out on the AWCON because of CAF zonal policy that will at the end of the day leave Africa with mediocre teams to represent the continent at the WorldCup.

    Based on our pedigree we can overcome Ghana and Ivory Coast. However, these are teams that Cameroon female teams and SA female teams can not beat on a good day or any day.

    The likes of Zambia, South Africa, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, Egypt and the likes will walk over their qualifiers and probably can’t stand the SuperFalcons when hostilities begin as far as the AFCON is concerned.

    Though they’ve improved recently, but we still hold the cutting edge on the African continent as far as female football is concerned. Putting giants of Africa together in a qualifying series is absolutely a ridiculous idea. It should be based on FIFA rankings like their male counterparts.

    • gerry josaphat 2 years ago

      I don’t know the reason for pairing Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast to knock out themselves in Africa qualifiers for Continental hampionship. Have you et heard Brazilia, Argentina and Uruguay meeting in the elimination series in South America ? We should encourage our best teams to qualify for major Championships.

  • My brother, whilst heavyweights Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast are busy eliminating one another, the likes of Burundi, Botswana, Namibia,Togo, Mali and Burkina Faso are close to qualifying for the tournament. Uganda have already qualified by the way.

    What a bloody joke!!!!!

  • okponku 2 years ago

    Well from the match today i found out that while Naija babes are busy searching for the best Artificial Hair to wear, the Ivorien’s lady were busy learning good ball control tricks. Only God could save Naija at second leg if they ever try to display the kind of quash play like today’s. Caf on the other hand should pls stop this new qualification method bcos it affects African image outside the Continent soccer.

  • The only thing I have to say is that the refree was a disaster.Why would she disqualify Ajibade’s goal who had an advantage after being fouled.I do not like the all french speaking officials.The gang up against Falcons is becoming too glaring for the past 4 years.

  • Omo9ja 2 years ago

    Congratulations to our Super Falcons. Unto the next one. I am pleased with the result of the match but there’s room for improvement before the second leg.

    Am really impressed with Ashleigh Plumptre. She did very well bn her first time at the national team most especially in Africa, bravo.

    If you are good you are good period. Awoniyi and Sodiq should learn how to adapt quickly in the Super Eagles. If Ashleigh Plumptre were able to play like that in yesterday match then our strikers in Cameroon failed woefully in that tournament. I hope our own will do the right thing this time around. Dessers doesn’t need much time to adjust in the national team, we saw it against Tunisia and the smart guy almost scored in that friendly match.

    Once again, congratulations to you ladies. Go get the job done in Ivory coast. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • Taiwo 2 years ago

    COMPLETE FOOTBALL Please let us into the rationale behind this CAF arrangement that makes the WAFU powerhouses in female football to play together in the qualifiers? Thanks

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