Nigeria beat South Africa on penalties to defend AWCON crown
The Super Falcons managed to beat South Africa 4-3 on penalties to retain their crown as the champions of Africa
Linda Maserame Motlhalo 5th kick for the South Africans was saved by goalkeeper Oluehi TochuKwu to hand Nigeria the Africa Women's Cup of Nations (AWCON) trophy for the 9th time.
Nigeria were the first to miss from the shootout through Onome Ebi, but they recovered and won 4-3.
The final of the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) failed to produce plenty of goal scoring opportunities in both halved of the game.
The first half was a more balanced game: South Africa dominated the early exchanges and the latter part of the half, whereas in between Nigeria controlled the possession and caused much threat in the vital area of the South Africans.
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The first attempt on goal was made by A long ball just outside the 18-yard box by Leandra Smeda missed the cross bar some few inches
It was followed by a freekick by number Mamello which was parried over the cross bar.
Nigeria responded by making some dangerous moves in the South African goal area.
The first attempt by Nigeria was made by Okobi but it went off target.
Asisat Oshoela took on a defender and she was brought down and despite a shout for penalty the centre referee awarded a goalkeeper to the Bayana Bayana
Nigeria after that won two corner kicks as well and in a space of five minutes, they kept the goal area of Bayana Bayana busy.
Francisca Ordega in a solo run laid a pass through and after a shot the South African defence managed to clear the ball, but Ngozi Sonia Okobi send a thunderbolt, yet the Kaylin Christen Swart stretched wide to save the ball in the 25 minute.
Nigeria appealed for a hand ball in South African penalty box, but a penalty was ignored by the referee once again.
Ordega made another nice move, she took on her marker, but wasted it after she brought the ball to her left foot.
Chrestinah Kgatlana robbed Onome Ebi off the ball, yet the Nigerian center back won the ball back to save the situation.
After the break Francisca Ordega came close to scoring, after she had been put through by Rasheedat Ajibade, but her shot went over the cross.
South Africa afterwards too control of the game, yet they failed to cause much threat in the goal area of the Super Falcons.
And against the run of play Nigeria capitalized on a defensive blunder and benefited from a penalty kick as a result: Nigeria in a counter break after a blunder by a South African defender saw goalkeeper Swart bring down onrushing Francisca Ordega down in the 18-yard box in her quest to salvage the situation and the centre referee awarded a penalty to the West Africans this time around.
Asisat Oshoela, who stepped up for the kick, missed it despite displacing goalkeeper Swart.
The game became more of midfield play and despite Nigeria pushing
During the extra time, Oshoela who was bent on atoning for her penalty miss dribbled past two South Africans and placed the ball nicely, but Swart stretched fully to rescue the Bayana Bayana in early minutes of the first 15 minutes of play.
The Bayana Bayana also responded when Chrestinah Kgatlana took on two markers, but he sho went straight into Oluehi TochuKwu waiting hands.
Linda Maserame Motlhalo was also presented with an opportunity to register the match opener, yet her shot was saved once again by TochuKwu.
South Africa seized play and Kgatlana used her speed to torment the Nigerians.
Nigeria were the better side in the second half of the second half of extra time. They dictated the pace of the game, but they could breach the defence line of South Africa.
However, the best opportunity of that half fell the way of South Africa, when they had a free kick outside the 18-yard box of Nigeria, yet Mamello Makhabane's well taken ball was parried over the cross bar.
Two players were instrumental for both Nigeria and South Africa were Ngozi Sonia Okobi and Chrestinah Kgatlana, respectively
Okobi was the controller in midfield and she completed most of her dribbles and passes successfully.
Kgatlana, the scorer of the lone goal in their group B clash was a delight to watch. She was the eye of the Bayana Bayana. Despite all attempts by the Nigerian defence to close her down anytime she was in control of the ball, yet she managed to find space and beat her markers to the ball.
Francisca Ordega was named the Player of the match.
Below is the starting line-up of the two teams
Osinachi Marvis Ohale
Josephine Chiwendu Chukwunonye
Asisat Lamina Oshoala
Ngozi Sonia Okobi
Rasheedat Busayo Ajibade
Halimatu Ibrahim Ayinde
Lebohang Ester Ramalepe
Janine Van Wyk
Linda Maserame Motlhalo
Leandra Wiloma Smeda