Falcons sink Banyana to reach AWC final

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WINDHOEK – The Super Falcons of Nigeria cruised to the final of the TN CAF Women’s Championship – courtesy of a hard fought 2-1 win over traditional rivals South Africa in an entertaining semifinal at a half packed Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek last night.

With the daughters already separated from mothers after three rounds of grueling matches in the group stages of the championship, the stage was set for a football spectacle when the Super Falcons of Nigeria squared off against South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in a thrilling semifinal clash of the Titans.

The two-week long tourney headed towards the home straight with two of the continent’s powerhouses confronting each other for supremacy.

Kitted out in their traditional all green and white stripped regalia, the strongly built Falcons found themselves on the back foot as Portia Modise’s inspired Banyana asked questions in the early stages of the match.

Ebere Ngozi tested Simphiwe Dludlu with a stinking long range free kick from an acute angle but the Banyana shot stopper was equal to the challenge. Dludlu made two great saves in succession first denying Fransisca Ordega and then stopping Desire Orarandzie from close range.
At the other end, Modise stung the palms of Evelyn Chiedu with a rasping free kick. As the match wore on, evergreen playmaker Modise had the crowd on the edge of their seats as she displayed some tricks reminiscent of Diski football.

Ordega missed a sitter when she misdirected a header from close range with the goalkeeper well at sea after the enterprising Halimatu Ayinde skinned her marker on the left flank.

With 40 minutes gone on the clock, Asisat Oshoala put the Falcons ahead after she left her marker for dead to place the ball way beyond the outstretched hands of Dludlu (1-0).

Banyana skipper Janine van Wyk was the first offender to find her way into the referee’s crime sheet when she was cautioned for foul play. Oshoala completed her brace with a harmless looking long-range delivery that sailed agonizingly over the stranded Dludlu into in an unguarded net on the stroke of halftime (2-0).

Shortly after the resumption coach Vera Pauw unleashed Sanah Mollo replacing Octovia Nogwanya and the move yielded positives when Jane Refiloe reduced the deficit with a scrambled goal (2-1). Nigeria threw more bodies upfront but could not find their way past the resolute defending of Van Wyk.
With a quarter of an hour left on the clock, veteran striker Perpetua Nkwocha, made her eagerly awaited entry into the field to ease some pressure. Substitute Esther Sunday proved quite a handful for the clearly overworked Banyana rearguard but was badly let down by poor finishing. Final score Nigeria 2 – 1 South Africa.

The Super Falcons await the winner of last night’s semifinal between Cameroon and Ivory Coast for Saturday’s final, while Banyana still fancy their chance for a berth in the 2015 FIFA World Cup in Canada, should they come out unscathed from the 3rd place play-off in the curtain raiser on Saturday.