The Super Falcons of Nigeria inflicted a 10th defeat in 12 meetings on the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon on Tuesday evening in the semi-final of the Total Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON), while also securing a ticket to the Women’s World Cup in France next year.
As expected, it was a tough and difficult game as the Falcons started out a little nervous surrendering possession to the Cameroonians on numerous occasions especially in the first half. The Lionesses were however unable to capitalise despite having more possession and controlling the game.
In the second half, the Falcons played with a little bit more organisation creating a couple of chances after spells of sustained pressure but couldn’t break the deadlock. It was the same story for last edition’s finalists as they also failed to make sustained periods of pressure count forcing the Falcons goalkeeper, Tochukwu Oluehi to only one save from a long range effort.
The Cameroonians were more purposeful with possession and asked questions of the Nigerian defence which was solid all through the 120 minutes (90 mins + extra time) played. In the end, it was a game of the Nigerian defence against the attack of Cameroon with the Falcons defence coming out on top.
Three minutes before the final whistle went for the end of extra time, Super Falcons goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi was seen jogging in her box in preparation for penalties. Little wonder the goalkeeper saved two of the four spot kicks by the Indomitable Lionesses as predicted by some Nigerian journalists in the media tribune and on social media.
Is this Cameroonian goalkeeper running down the clock?
Has she been told that Nigerian goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi saves at least two spot kicks in every five kicks she face? Okay now. #TotalAwcon18
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) November 27, 2018
So it didn’t come as a surprise when Oluehi dived in the right direction for the third and fourth penalty kicks to make the crucial saves.
Having missed two spot kicks, all the Super Falcons needed to do was convert their fourth penalty and that responsibility fell on the shoulders of Ngozi Ebere who buried her penalty expertly beyond the Cameroonian goalkeeper to send the Falcons into the finals of AWCON 2018.
In the second semi-finals of the day, two goals from Kgalana Thembi and Lebohang Ramalepe in either half ensured that the Banyana Banyana of South Africa defeated Mali to set up a final clash with the Super Falcons of Nigeria; a repeat of the opening Group B fixture.
This win not only means that the Super Falcons get a chance to defend the title they won in Cameroon two years ago, it also means that they become the first African team to qualify for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France with South Africa taking the second spot following their 2-0 victory over Mali.