Nigeria have booked their place in the quarterfinals of the WAFU B Women Tournament following a 3-0 victory over Senegal in Group B’s second matchday played in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Saturday.
Expectations were rather low after the Super Falcons struggled to claim a lone-goal win over Mali in their first match which was largely dominated by the Malians.
However, amends seemed to have been made ahead of the second game, as the Nigerians got underway with high determination against the Senegalese.
Imo Anam and Ogbede Alice traded diagonal passes and quickly found their way into Senegal area. Wogu Chioma, who was waiting in the box, failed to connect with the excellent cross thus missing a chance to open the scoring by the 15th minute.
Mali’s Maty Cissokho drifted deep in Nigeria area but after outpacing central defender Jegede Joy, she pushed her ball too far and was beaten to it by Nigeria goalkeeper Nnadozie Chiamaka.
The Falcons had the midfield in control but their ball delivery to their forwards was sloppy.
After a couple of solo attempts, Ajibade Rashedat broke loose once more to the right flank and cut into Senegal’s box, releasing a strike that went past goalkeeper Ouleye Dieye. It was 1-0 for Nigeria by the 25th minute.
Five minutes later, Rashedat was at it again. She outpaced two defenders in her favourite right wing and lobbed onrushing Senegal goalkeeper to power Nigeria’s lead to 2-0.
Senegal reacted with a couple of interesting counterattacks but Jegede and Osas thwarted their efforts.
Rashedat was set up to the left this time and wasted no time in blasting her finish from a long range that sealed the Falcons third goal by the 32nd minute.
Nigeria pushed for more goals but Mali resisted adequately, keeping the scoreline at 3-0 at halftime. Mali made three successive substitutions after the break in an attempt to reduce the deficit, but the best they could do was to prevent Nigeria from having more goals.
Mariama Diedhiou of Mali had her best moments in the second half as the Nigerian defenders had to labour very hard to keep her in check.
Diedhiou alone won three free-kicks and three corners for her team but none yielded any meaningful result.
The Falcons had a couple of clear-cut chances towards the end of the game but couldn’t improve their lead more than the 3-0 claimed in the first half thanks to hat-trick heroine Ajibade Rashed, who was named Woman of the Match.
Nigeria will face Togo on Monday in the final group game.
Other results: On Friday, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso settled for a 1-1 draw while Ghana crushed Niger 9-0.