The Super Falcons scored two first half goals courtesy of Asisat Oshoala in the 35th and 45th minutes to hand a 2-1 defeat to South Africa’s Bayana Bayana on Wednesday in the first semi finals game of the 9th African Women Championship and confirm Nigeria’s place in the final on Saturday, their seventh appearance at the final of the Championship which serves as qualifiers for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The win also guarantees Nigeria’s participation in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Oshoala ran into the box, dribbled past her marker but luckily the ball deflects off South African captain Van Wyk for the Falcons’ first goal.
Oshoala scored her second goal of the game in the 45th minute. The Most Valueable Player of the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, who was handed the best player award of this game, chipped the ball from the right flank, beyond the reach of the South African keeper, Mndaweni, who was off her lines. The effort from a long range was Oshoala’s third shot of the game.
Ngozi Okobi had a chance to add to Nigeria’s goals. The midfielder controlled the ball brilliantly but her shot that followed was disappointing.
The South African defenders cut off supplies to Desire Oparanozie but the Bayana Bayana captain Van Wyk (captain) was eventually yellow-carded for a foul on Oparanozie in the first half.
The Falcons began the second half on a promising note. A great combination by Ngozi Okobi and Halimat Ayinde in the 47th minute was thwarted by the South African defence.
Super Falcons’ captain,Rita Nwabuoku’s shot was tipped over for a corner by Mndaweni within an hour of the game.
The referee made quite a controversial decision in the 67th minute of the game to the bewilderment of the Nigerian bench. Ebere’s header off Jane’s cross is counted as a goal even though it seemed the ball did not cross the line from the television’s replays. The score board however read Nigeria 2-1 South Africa.
Esther Sunday’s rasping shot on the near post was punched out for a corner on the dot of 90 minutes. Three minutes was added after regulation time but the Falcons contained the South Africans who had some spells of possessions but lacked the cutting edge to punish the Falcons who were caught off guard a couple of times.
The winner of the second semi finals between Cote d’ Ivoire and Cameroon will play against the Nigerians while South Africa await the loser of the game for the third-place game.
The top three teams will represent Africa at next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.