Falconets overcome brave Morocco, face South Africa in tournament decider 

Faith Oluchi

BENIN CITY, November 19, 2017 – A 45-minute heavy downpour disrupted the 4pm kickoff but that only fueled Nigeria’s drive as they overcame Morocco with a 5-1 (6-2 aggregate) win, in the second round of the FIFA under-20 World Cup African Qualifiers.

After series of meeting between Match Commissioner, Soudatou Djallo-Kalkaba from Cameroon, and the team officials, the Falconets began the 5;15pm kickoff with zeal for early goals, as Rasheedat Ajibade, Anam Imo and Monday Gift combining brilliantly.
One of those brilliant  moves resulted to an early goal in the fourth minute after Monday Gift crossed the ball from the left for Ajibade to tap in.
Nine minutes later, Gift had dribble past Moroccan defender Esaadia El Barrah, before slotting past goalkeeper Houda Benazid for Nigeria’s second goal.
The Moroccans were filled with determination and their fighting spirit paid off in 35th minute after Nigeria’s goalkeeper Onyinyechukwu Okeke, stirred Fatima Tagnaout’s free –kick from the right, into Nigeria’s net.
This drove the visitors to look for the equalizer just before half time but Nigeria held on for the 2-1 lead at the break.

In the second half, three goals scored from devastating counter-attacks proved too much quality from the Nigerian side who have never missed a U-20 Women’s World Cup in 15 years.
The Falconets had missed  several chances before substitute Charity Reuben heaved the ball over a defender and smashed into the net in the 77th minute. During the dying minute of the match, Ajibade utilized her pace to beat the Moroccan defence before slotting past Benazid. A minute later, she combined with Reuben on another counter –attack, passing to the latter to push into an empty net for the fifth goal.

In the earlier fixture, South Africa came back from a 2-0 deficit away at Burundi to defeat the East Africans 5-0 (5-2 on aggregate, booking their place in the third and final qualifying round.

Falconets of Nigeria will now meet Basetsana of South Africa in the last round of qualifiers early next year to fight for one of Africa’s two available tickets for FIFA U 20 world cup to be held between August 5 – 24 2018 in France.

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