The super Falcons of Nigeria will play against South Africa in the final of the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations after defeating hard-fighting Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroun.
Full and extra time football had ended in a goalless stalemate between two of the continent’s best women’s football team on Tuesday at Accra, Ghana before the highly-experienced Nigerian girls held their nerves to convert all their spot kicks.
The Super Falcons defeated Cameroun 4-2 while South Africa in the other hand beat Mali 1-0.
The result also earns the Falcons a place at next year’s Women’s World Cup in France while Cameroon will have to wait for the third-place game to know their qualification fate.
Touted as the final-before-the-final, the game lived up to its billing with both sides equally matched. The Cameroonians had vengeance on their minds, having lost the final of the last edition in 2016 to their Nigerian foes on home soil.
The Falcons’ array of stars, just like in their opening 1-0 defeat to South Africa, failed to sparkle, and the athletic Cameroonians would only have themselves to blame as they failed to find the cutting edge.
Chances were far and wide for both sides with captain Onome Ebi’s 41st minute shot from a centre-line free kick almost giving the eight-time champions the lead but Francisca Ordega’s volley went wide.
Goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi then fantastically palmed over a long range Cameroonian effort in the 65th minute before Desire Oparanozie had her left-foot effort saved in the 81st minute by Annette Ngo Ndom, in goal for Cameroon, after she used sheer body movement to outwit her marker.
The Cameroonians came out stronger in extra time, in search of the opening goal but the Falcons held on to send the tie to penalties, the first of the competition.
In the shootout, the Nigerians converted all their kicks. Norway-based striker Ajara Njoya and Raisa Feudjio converted the Lionesses’ first two penalties just as Ebi and substitute Rasheedat Ajibade.
But Gaëlle Enganamouit’s saw her effort caught by Oluehi, while Oshoala scored to put Nigeria ahead. The hardworking Ngo Mbeleckthen watched helplessly as her kick, the fourth for the Cameroonians, brushed the post and off target, leaving Ebere to calmly slot home the Falcons fourth to send fans at the Accra stadium into rapturous celebration, as the Nigerians cruised to a ninth AWCON final.