Cyprus Women’s Cup: Falcons survive late scare as S/Africa lose

Cyprus Women’s Cup: Falcons survive late scare as S/Africa lose

The Super Falcons of Nigeria recorded their first win of the Cyprus Women’s Cup on Friday afternoon following a 4-3 win over Slovakia in a must win encounter; while South Africa again failed to secure her first three points of the tournament.

With both Nigeria and Slovakia losing their first game of the tournament by three goals, a win was utmost on the agenda for both sides in order to keep qualification hopes alive. Hence, from the blast of the whistle Thomas Dennerby’s side took the initiative.

Reverting back to a more familiar 4-3-3 formation, Dennerby made seven changes to the side that lost 1-4 to Austria on Wednesday evening and it was only a matter of time before the African champions began to run riot against their European opponents.

Two goals from Sweden based midfielder, Rita Chikwelu and another from centre back Osinachi Ohale gave the Super Falcons a deserved 3-0 lead within 38 mins of the encounter as the reigning African champions went into the break with the upper hand.

It was however a different ball game in the second half as Slovakia struck back with 3 goals following a triple substitution and change of formation from 4-3-3 to 3-5-2.

This was followed by another substitution which saw Anam Imo replace Francesca Ordega. The Europeans then upped the ante and soon scored thrice – two penalties from Lucia Harsanyová and a lone strike off the boot of Vojtekova; all within 10 mins to level the scoreline with 15 mins of regulation time left to play.

After surrendering a first half 3-0 lead, the Super Falcons then increased the intensity going in search of a winner in the final quarter. It wasn’t long before  the African champions led through Anam Imo with an emphatic finish past the Slovakia goalkeeper to give the Super Falcons the much needed win.

As for Banyana Banyana of South Africa, despite the introduction of first choice goalkeeper, Kaylin Swart and other first team players like Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana, it was a not too impressive performance from the 2018 AWCON finalists who lost 4-1 to North Korea in their second game of the Cyprus Women’s Cup.

After coming back twice to secure a draw against Finland on Matchday 1, Desiree Ellis side failed to build on that performance by going 4 goals down within 35 mins against North Korea.

In the second half, South Africa came out to play their game early on and tried to save face but could only muster a consolation goal in the 48th minute.

At the end of regulation time, it was North Korea with all three points after an impressive first half display.

After Match day two of the Cyprus invitational tournament, Nigeria stay third in Group C with 3 points and -2 goal difference while South Africa are 4th with 1 point and -3 goal difference in Group A.

Next up for Nigeria is Belgium while South Africa play Czech Republic. Both game will take place on Monday, 4th of March.

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