Morocco Edge Nine-woman Super Falcons to book their place in the Final
July 19, 2022
Nigeria’s Super Falcons dream of a 10th Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title was ended Monday night in Rabat as the team were defeated 5-4 on penalties by hosts Morocco after a pulsating goalless 120 minutes of action, Starnews Moro.com.ng reports.
The Falcons finished with nine women following the red cards to Halimat Ayinde and Rasheedat Ajibade in the game for dangerous tackles after the referee had to rely on the VAR reviews.
The first chance of the game in the first minute went the way of the hosts when the inspirational Chizlane Chebakk delivered a free kick which defender Nesyrne El Chad headed but wide off target
Rasheedat Ajibade found Ifeoma Onumonu with a pinpoint cross with 24 minutes played but the latter’s header was easily gathered by goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi.
Christy Ucheibe also got close to breaking the duck but her long range shot was wide.
Ajibade created another goal scoring chance five minutes before the break but no teammate was at the near post to attack the ball which the opposition keeper dealt with.
Halimat Ayinde was rightly shown the red card moments after the second half began for a stamp on a Moroccan forward after a VAR review.
Super Falcons’ goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie rushed out of her lines to punch the ball away. She did but would be grateful to her defenders for clearing the ball on the goal line.
Onome Ebi miscued the ball in an attempt to clear the ball which came off the woodwork but eventually it was a goal kick in the end after a tense moment.
The hosts conceded an own goal through Yasmin Mrabet in the 62nd minute after a tussle with Uchenna Kanu in the six-yards. Ajibade had crossed the ball into the vital area which Onumonu headed against the bar.
The hosts levelled 10 minutes later after Chiamaka Nnadozie flapped at a cross and Sanaa Mssoudy tucked home the loose ball.
The Falcons were further decimated when Ajibade’s initial yellow card was upgrade after a VAR review for a tackle.
Gift Monday was introduced late into the game in place of Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene and showed her willingness to make a difference with her direct runs.
Six minutes of added time was indicated by the fourth official and it then went into extra time with both sides having their chances at the opposite ends but the extra 30 minutes produced no goals and it went into extra time.
Rita Chikwelu, Regina Otu, Ashleigh Plumptre and Gift Monday scored from the spot but Ifeoma Onumonu missed hers while Morocco converted all their kicks from 12 yards.
However, Nigeria lost the shootouts 5-4 as Moroccans ran into wild celebrations in front of a packed stadium with mostly home fans.
The Super Falcons, most successful team on the continent, were gunning for a 10th AWCON title.
But the Randy Waldrum ladies bow out knowing they have already qualified automatically for the 2023 FIFA World Cup billed to hold in Australia and New Zealand.
Morocco will now face Banyana Banyana of South Africa in the final of the competition.
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