Nigeria on Saturday night defeated Kenya 4-0 in their last group match of the 2016 CAF African Women’s Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Goals from Washington Spirits forward, Ngozi Okobi; Pitea IF defender, Faith Ikidi; Arsenal Ladies forward, Asisat Oshoala; and Gungamp striker, Desire Oparanozie, gave the Super Falcons the three points against the Harambee Starlets, who were the whipping team of Group B.
The Falcons topped Group B with seven points – same as Ghana, who defeated Mali 3-1 in the group is other match – but with a superior goal difference. Mali finished third with three points while Kenya had no point to finish bottom of the group.
Nigeria have thus qualified for the semifinals and will play South Africa, who finished as runners-up in Group A, on Tuesday.
Group A winners, Cameroon, will host Ghana in the other semifinals match also on Tuesday.
Nigeria, which began their campaign at the tournament with a 6-0 bashing of Mali in their first match, were playing their first match against debutants, Kenya, in the AWCON.
Coach Florence Omagbemi made a change to the side which drew 1-1 against Ghana on Tuesday as Chioma Wogu returned to the bench while Uchechi Sunday returned to the starting line-up.
With a superior starting line-up to the Kenyans’ all-home-based team, Nigeria lived up to expectation and began the match on a superior note.
They pegged the Harambee Starlets back and were rewarded for their efforts in the third minute.
Okobi pounced on a loose ball outside the 18-yard box to let fly a scorcher which the Kenyan goalkeeper, Vivian Akinyi, could not deal with.
The defending champions kept their foot on the pedal and doubled the lead in the 10th minute when Ikidi headed the ball home from a free-kick taken by Ugo Njoku. Thereafter, as was seen in their match against Ghana, the Falcons got anxious in front of goal and frittered away several goalscoring chances as they failed to take advantage of their possession.
The Starlets grew into the game and got their first shot on goal in the 23rd minute but could not threaten Jonathan Alaba in the Nigerian goal.
In the second half, the Falcons piled much pressure on their East African opponents but the Kenyan defenders and goalkeeper Akinyi thwarted several efforts from the Nigerian forwards.
However in the 52nd minute, Oshoala brought her tournament tally to six as she latched onto a pass from Okobi before slotting it beyond Akinyi for Nigeria’s third goal.
Oparanozie, who was a replacement for Sunday, got her goal – and Nigeria’s fourth – in the 88th minute after a getting on the end of a cross from Francisca Ordega. (Punchng.com)