South Africa’s Banyana Banyana edged the Super Falcons 2-1 in the opening match of Group C of the 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco on Monday, in the process picking all three points and shooting to the top of the pool.
It was a somewhat balanced first 45 minutes with both teams unable to achieve any breakthrough.
But South Africa were up 2-0 within two minutes of the hour-mark after Jermaine Seoposenwe hooked the ball into the Nigeria defence to get a clear chance to beat goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi from close range, after great work by Natalie Cesane who beat hard-working Ashleigh Plumptre with classy footwork on the edge of the Nigeria area and then sent the striker on her way.
The cheers and back-slapping on the Banyana bench had hardly died down when, after nifty exchange of passes in the middle, Michelle Alozie was beaten with a long ball on the Nigeria right and Hildah Magaia shot past onrushing Tochukwu Oluehi.
The Super Falcons looked rejuvenated after Francisca Ordega and Uchenna Kanu came into the fray for Asisat Oshoala and Ifeoma Onumonu respectively. Two minutes into added time, Rasheedat Ajibade reduced the deficit when she found the ball at her feet in the box after good work and pass by captain Onome Ebi.
Cup holders Nigeria must gain all three points against Botswana in their second match of the competition on Thursday to revive their campaign.