Holders Nigeria beat Cameroon 4-2 on penalties to reach the final and also pick the first of three tickets to the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.
The game, as expected started off on a high note with both teams making incursions into their opponents half but no real penetration.
Cameroon dominated the early exchanges and nearly found the opener in the sixth minute through Gabrielle Aboudi Oguene, but her goal bound shot was parried to safety by the Nigeria goalkeeper Oluehi Tochukwu who had a busy afternoon.
The Super Falcons took up the challenge with the likes of Oshoala Asisat creating holes in the Cameroonian defence, but in most occasions failed to find the target.
The game leaped into another gear in the second half with the brightest chance going to Cameroon again but Ajara Njoya’s shot rattled the crossbar in in the 59th minute with the Nigeria goalkeeper already beaten.
With nothing to separate both teams after 90 minutes, the game thus went into extra time. And this time both teams tried to win in, but they lacked the final bite in terms of goal scoring forcing the game into the lottery of penalty shootout.
Nigeria was the luckier of the two teams at the shootout as they converted four of their kicks as against two for Cameroon.
Nigeria scored all their four kicks taken by Ebi Onome, Ajibade Bisayo, Oshoala Asisat and Ngozi Ebere.
On the other hand, Njoya Ajara Nchout and Raissa Feudjio Tchuanyo scored for Cameroon whilst Enganamouit Gaelle Deborah and Edith Ngo Mbeleck failed to score from the spot.
Total Woman of the Match: Ajara Njoya Nchout (Cameroon)
Joseph Brian Ndoko (Head Coach, Cameroon)
It was a very difficult match and I think we deserved better in the regulation time because we had a lot of possession and created more chances than in our previous games. In football, once it goes to penalties, there’s little you can do because the onus now falls on the players to reprint all that we have learnt about it and keep their composure to score.
Indeed, we planned for revenge like I said yesterday, but we couldn’t and once again we got beaten by Nigeria. It will be very difficult to talk to the girls tonight because they are all crying in the dressing room and I know it will continue to the hotel. Who knows, maybe I will join them too in my room because the defeat hurts.
However we still take consolation in the fact that we are still in the chase to get the only remaining ticket left for the Women’s World Cup. We will shake off the result hopefully by tomorrow and pick ourselves up and prepare well for the third and fourth place match on Friday against whichever team.
But I must add that I am proud of my team. They played to instructions and gave it their all. We were just unfortunate at the penalty shootout yet again.
Thomas Dennerby (Head Coach, Nigeria)
It was a game we expected to be difficult and it proved to be nothing short. I feel the fans loved every bit of it despite it going 120 minutes without a goal. My team started the game on the back foot, especially in the first 15 minutes as Cameroon dominated. But we quickly regrouped and came back into the game.
Both teams played well and sold a good game out to Africa and the rest of the world. The penalty shootout was one that we have been practicing at training for some time now and today the players executed it to perfection.
For now we celebrate and prepare for the final match on Saturday. We are happy that we have won the game and picked one of the three tickets to the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Like I said yesterday, now that we have that out of the way, the next target is retaining the trophy.