Nigeria …………… 1 (54’ Oparanozie)
South Africa ………. 0
South Africa lost 1-0 to Nigeria in the semi-final of the 2016 Edition of the CAF African Women’s Cup of Nations on Tuesday in Limbe, Cameroon as the defending champions set up a final clash with the hosts Cameroon who earlier beat Ghana by the same scoreline.
Banyana Banyana put up a gallant fight and with the help of the vociferous crowd behind them throughout the match, Nigeria needed a wicked deflected goal to earn a place in the final and to separate the two giants of African football.
Nigeria earned a free kick just outside the penalty box and Oparanozie’s powerful shot took a massive deflection to leave Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Andile Dlamini with no chance.
The first half produced some fast entertaining football but ended goalless, with both teams missing some gilt-edged chances in that opening 45 minutes.
The second half started off in the same fashion with Banyana Banyana controlling the midfield but the complexion of the game changed in the 53rd minute when Ethiopian referee awarded Nigeria a direct free kick less than two meters outside the South African box.
Oparanozie did not hesitate to slot it in past Dlamini to give the Super Falcons the lead they were going to hold on for the rest of the game.
Thembi Kgatlana was then brought in to try and change the face of the game but despite her blazing speed, she fashioned few chances for South Africa.
Banyana Banayan had two chances late in the game but both efforts were cleared off the line and on the other end, the Super Falcons almost scored on a counter attack.
South Africa will now face Ghana in the 3rd/ 4th place playoff on Friday, 2 December 2016. This match will be played in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Here is how they lined up:
Andile Dlamini(GK); Lebogang Mabatle; Janine Van Wyk (c); Bambanani Mbane; Nothando Vilakazi; Mamello Makhabane; Refiloe Jane; Leandra Smeda; Linda Motlhalo; Silindlie Ngubane; Andisiwe Mcgoyi
Yolula Tsawe(GK); Astria Boks; Noko Matlou; Nompumelelo Nyandeni; Amogelang Motau; Thembi Kgatlana; Shiwe Nogwanya
Alaba Jonathan (GK); Faith Ikidi; Osinachi Ohale; Onome Ebi; Asisat Lamina Oshoala; Ogochi Desire Oparanozie; Rita Chikwelu (c); Ngozi Okobi; Ugo Njoku; Francisca Ordega; Halimatu Ayinde
Ibubeleye Whyte (GK); Osarenoma Igbinovia; Ngozi Ebere; Wogu Success; Ukpong Ester Sunday; Gladys Akpa; Gloria Iroka; Ijeoma Obi; Uchechi Sunday; Rita Akarekor (GK)
Referee: Lidya Tafesse (Ethiopia) 1st Assistant: Idrissa Fanta Kone (Mali) 2nd Assistant: Mary Njoroge (Kenya) Match Commissioner: Felix Amoah Ansong (Ghana)