2024 Olympic Qualifiers: Ajibade penalty hands Super Falcons narrow first leg win over South Africa

Women’s World Cup: Ordega & Ayinde yet to arrive Super Falcons camp in Australia

A first-half penalty from Rasheedat Ajibade handed the Super Falcons a narrow 1-0 win over South in the first leg of the final round of the 2024 Olympic qualifiers at the Abuja National Stadium on Friday evening.

Randy Waldrum’s ladies defeated rivals and neighbours Cameroon 1-0 on aggregate in the previous qualification round while Desiree Ellis’ side thumped Tanzania 4-0 on aggregate.

The Falcons started brightly in Abuja with Chinwendu Ihezuo blasting her effort wide in the fifth minute before South African goalkeeper Kaylin Swart needed to be alert to stop Uchenna Kanu’s threat. Ihezuo also had another chance to put the Falcons in front in the 19th minute but her header off a cross from Chidinma Okeke went wide.

The Pachuca forward was brought down by Noko Matlou in the penalty box in the 41st minute and the referee did not hesitate to point to the spot. Ajibade took the responsibility of the spot kick and beat Swart to put the Falcons in front.

Having not been tested in the first half, Nigeria number one Chiamaka Nnadozie pulled off a brilliant save to deny Jermaine Seoposenwe from levelling for South Africa in the 56th minute. The Paris FC shot stopper also had to be alert as Banyana began to pile some pressure towards the hour mark.

Waldrum’s side ultimately held on to the win and slender lead going into next Tuesday’s second leg in Pretoria.

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