The Super Falcons of Nigeria were held to a 1-1 draw by the Black Queens of Ghana in a tense and physical Group B encounter at the Limbe Omnisport stadium on Wednesday.
Elizabeth Addo scored from the spot to cancel an Asisat Oshoala opener, as both sides failed in their bid to secure an early ticket to the semis.
Super Falcon’s coach, Florence Omagbemi made only one change to the 11 that started against Mali, with Chioma Wogu, whose introduction in the second half inspired a goalfest, replacing Uchechi Sunday, who was rather wasteful on that day.
On the opposing team, Coach Yusif Basigi picked Safia Rahman and Rosemary Ampem in place of Kusi Alice and Antwi Regina, who were both starters in their 3-1 victory over Kenya.
As expected, Ghana, gold medalists at last year’s All Africa Games, proved to be a stiffer opponent for the defending Champions, but the high profile encounter produced no real chances in the first 15 minutes – action choked the midfield instead.
However, Asisat Oshoala, Nigeria’s four goal heroine in the game against Mali, finally broke the deadlock in the 18th minute with her fifth goal of the tournament.
The Black Queens would go on to respond three minutes to the break, through captain Elizabeth Addo, who cooly slotted home from the spot for her third goal of the tournament. And the half time whistle was blown with the game evenly poised.
Fans were treated to a second half characterized by end to end action. Nigeria could have reclaimed their lead almost immediately after the restart but Asisat Oshoala’s cross from the right eluded Ordega, while Chioma Wogu’s final touch flew over the bar.
At the other end, Florence Dadson had an opportunity to grab the lead for Ghana, but an onrushing Jonathan Alaba in goal for Nigeria, thwarted her effort.
As full time approached, the Super Falcons attacked more aggresively while the Black Queens tried to hit on the counter. Asisat Oshoala even had a penalty appeal turned down by the South African centre referee, Akhona Zennith Makalima. Coach Florence Omagbemi brought in Ngozi Okobi for captain Rita Chikwelu whose head was bandaged after a collision in the first half. While the much asked-about Desire Oparanozie was given about 15 minutes of game time.
The final whistle sounded with both teams sharing the spoils at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium. They will now have to wait until the final round of group matches to know if they will make it to the knockout round.
In the meantime, Nigeria still top the group with 4 points and a superior goal difference, while Ghana follows closely.
Nigeria’s next opponents are Kenya, while Ghana will lock horns with Mali.