By Jide Alaka
November 8, 2010 01:07AM
Nigeria’s Super Falcons yesterday continued their march to re-capture the title they lost in 2008 to Equatorial Guinea. The Falcons faced the Twiga Stars of Tanzania with a chance to cement top spot in the group. And it was another great performance from Perpetua Nkwocha as she confirmed the Nigerian team’s superiority and inched closer to achieving her target of scoring 15 goals in the championship.
The match was largely played in the half of the Twig Stars, who tried to defend their goal with two banks of five players but Nigeria was on the front foot as early as the first minute when Francisca Ordega was caught offside marginally. A minute later, Ordega went on another rampaging run down the left flank and earned a corner kick.
Two minutes later, Nkwocha crossed from the right with Ebere Orji lurking to score. It caused the goalkeeper to panic and palm the ball across the goal. A header from Ordega followed but it went wide.
The Falcons did not play with a lot of imagination and wide players were squeezing into the middle with Nkwocha dropping off the front to join a congested midfield.
Nkwocha’s sixth and seventh goals
But they got the first goal in the 10th minute, when a cross by Ulunma Jerome was squeezed into goal from a tight angle to give the Falcons the lead. That was the sixth goal for master poacher, Nkwocha.
The match then sparked to life and in the 21st minute, Jerome’s cross cum shot hit the cross bar and out of play. The Tanzanian team were now really working hard to deny the Falcons any more scoring chances.
Nonetheless, Nkwocha scored the second goal of the match and her seventh in the 32nd minute when a defensive error involving Twiga Stars’ captain Sophie Mwaskili presented the Nigerian striker with a sight on goal – and she duly converted the chance.
The Twiga Stars tried to cut the lead with long range shots but Precious Dede easily gathered the efforts.
The first half should have ended with a third goal for the Falcons but Ordega was in an offside position when she took the ball off Orji’s toes after she had dribbled the keeper and was ready to score.
The second half was very disjointed with the Stars raising their game through Aisha Sada, who was changing from the right to the left flanks throughout the game.
The half witnessed another barrage of shots from distance with Sada hitting the cross bar in the 55th minute and Dede getting injured in the process of making the save. Gloria Akpa came on for Jerome and Desire Oparanozie came in for Nkwocha. The changes disrupted the Falcons game but the team finally scored the third goal in the 82nd minute when a spilled shot by the Tanzanian keeper was tapped in by Oparanozie – it was her first goal of the championship.
In yesterday’s other match, South Africa walloped the Malian team 4-0 to join the Falcons in the semi-finals. Their likely opponents will be defending champions, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon, who have four points each in Group B.