WAFCONQ: Five observations from Super Falcons come-from-behind win against Cape VerdePublished: December 05, 2023
The Super Falcons secured their spot in the Morocco 2024 Women's African Cup of Nations after a 2-1 win against Cape Verde, clinching victory with a 7-1 aggregate score.
Cape Verde's Ivania Moreira opened the scoring in the eighth minute, but Nigeria's substitute, Esther Okoronkwo, came to the rescue in the second half, equalizing for her team, before Rasheedat Ajibade scored the winner for the nine-time African champions in the 93rd minute.
Here are five key observations from the game in Cape Verde, as presented by allnigeriasoccer.com.
1) Unbeaten streak continues for Super Falcons without Waldrum
Even in the absence of Randy Waldrum, the Super Falcons of Nigeria have maintained an unbeaten record following their remarkable display at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Under the guidance of caretaker coach Justin Madugu, the Nigerian women's team participated in four games, securing three victories and earning one draw.
2. Uchenna Kanu disappoints in Cape Verde
Despite delivering a crucial performance in the previous encounter, Uchenna Kanu was unable to replicate her success in the return leg against Cape Verde.
Kanu had netted a brace in the first leg held at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja but experienced a downturn in form during the match in Cape Verde.
Her underwhelming performance led to her substitution just two minutes into the second half, with Esther Okoronkwo stepping in to take her position.
3. Improved second half performance
In the Women's African Cup of Nations second leg against Cape Verde, the Super Falcons of Nigeria demonstrated a notable improvement in their performance during the second half.
Following a subpar performance in the first half, where Nigeria found themselves trailing the hosts, caretaker coach Justin Madugu made two strategic changes at the beginning of the second period.
Esther Okoronkwo and Esther Onyenezide were introduced, with the latter contributing to the team's revival by scoring the equalizer through an impressive individual effort.
4. Esther Okoronkwo pushing for a starting berth
Esther Okoronkwo's quest for a spot in the starting lineup of the Falcons remains steadfast, buoyed by her stellar showing against Cape Verde.
The 26-year-old striker, who had previously delivered a remarkable brace coming off the bench in the first leg, once again emerged as the team's savior in Cape Verde.
With her consistent and impressive performances across both matches, the Tenerife striker is making a compelling case for a starting position in the Falcons squad, looking ahead to both the WAFCON and the Olympics.
5. Falcons struggle to capitalize on opportunities
While the Super Falcons faced a challenging first half, their failure to convert numerous opportunities in the second half raises concerns for Coach Madugu.
Players such as Rasheedat Ajibade, Rinsola Babajide, Toni Payne, and Esther Okoronkwo all had opportunities to secure a winning goal but were unable to find the back of the net.
However, Rasheedat Ajibade scored the winner late in the game.
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