Togo handed their maiden qualification dream a massive boost following a late 2-1 victory over Gabon at Stade de Kegue in Lome in the first leg, last qualifying round for the TotalEnergies Women’s African Cup of Nations on Thursday.
The Togolese had recorded a walkover after Sao Tome and Príncipe withdrew from the second leg to advance, while Gabon edged Congo on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate score to set up a West and Central African playoff date.
It was an even start to the match with both teams giving their all to dominate possession in midfield until Gabon’s Aderick Ruche Abessolo’s header fell in the path of Ami Reine Gake and she superbly fired home in the 29th minute to hand Togo the first half lead.
However, the visitors bounced back in the encounter with a crucial leveller and away goal advantage in the second half when Jessy Ornella Mezui Obiang headed in Vanessa Mazaly’s well-taken freekick in the 59th minute.
In the closing stages, both sides looked destined to share the spoils as the ball kept swinging from one end to another until Odette Gnintegma squeezed breezed past the goalkeeper before firing into an empty net on the brink of full time and ensured the hosts went into the tunnel with a win.
With the home win, the Female Sparrowhawks will look to seal their first ever qualification when they visit the Gabonese, who will seek to overturn their deficit at Report Stade Augustin Monédan de Sibang in Libreville on February 23.
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