The Super Falcons of Nigeria ousted from a fourth round berth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifiers on Monday evening after failing to secure a victory over Cote d’Ivoire.
This would make it the second time in a row that Christopher Danjuma has failed to qualify Nigeria’s Super Falcons for the Olympics following the disappointment from 2015.
The Danjuma led side played out a goalless draw four days ago in Abidjan and had it all to do in the second leg as a victory was all they needed to go through to the next round but the African Champions failed to secure the win.
Both teams started the return leg with huge fight in them as Nigeria’s Gift Monday rattled goalkeeper Cynthia Djohore as early as the 6th minute only to see her shot pushed away for a corner kick. But the Falcons failed to utilise the series of corner kicks that followed.
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The visitors took the lead in the most unexpected manner six minutes later, as Nina Kpaho, straight from a free kick on the right, flighted the ball beyond Chiamaka Nnadozie in goal.
The Super Falcons did not lose steam, and in the 27th minute, skipper Asisat Oshoala should have equalized but watched her shot from a brilliant Ngozi Okobi pass sail over the bar.
Seven minutes later, Nigeria drew level. From a counter attack, Okobi once again put Oshoala through with an intelligent pass, and the captain kept her cool to steer the ball past the big Djohore in the Cote d’Ivoire goal.
Six minutes after the restart, Rasheedat Ajibade, gifted with an opportunity just outside the box after Bernadette Amani and Joelle Kouassi missed the ball, could only blast the ball away past Djohore’s left side of goal.
The Ivorians got the revenge they came for following Nigeria’s WAFU Cup final victory over them earlier in the year but the Super Falcons will have to go regroup and comeback stronger from this disappointment.
Photo Credit: @sam4wigan