Nigeria got themselves in pole position to qualify for the TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2022, after beating Cote d’Ivoire 2-0 in the first leg, final qualifying round match at the MKO Abiola Stadium on Friday.
The Nigerians had earlier squeezed past Ghana 2-1 on aggregate to progress last October, while West African counterparts Cote d’Ivoire swept aside Niger 20-0 on aggregate to set up the mother of all second-round battles.
The home side got off to a flying start when Esther Okoronkwo dribbled her way into the opponents’ box before setting up Ifeoma Onumonu to open the scoring for the Super Falcons in the 21st minute.
In a response, the visitors came close to level matters through the combined effort of Rebecca Elloh and Ange N’Guessan but the Nigerian defence quashed their opportunity moments later to head into the tunnel with a half time lead.
After the restart, the visitors made an early effort to hurt Randy Waldrum’s side with their pouring attack through troubling Elloh but could not find a way past the solid defence of the Nigerians.
However, the hosts regained ball possessions and profited from another Ivorians’ defensive mix up when Onumonu struck in the 56th minute to guarantee the win with her second of the match.
The win puts Nigeria on the brink of another qualification as they will look to seal the ticket in Abidjan, where the Ivorians will hope to avoid a third successive WAFCON miss at Stade Robert Champroux.
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