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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Super Falcons crush Cape Verde girls 5-0 to put one foot in Morocco 2024

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The Super Falcons completely out-thought, outplayed and outmanoeuvred their counterparts from Cape Verde to hit five goals in the first leg of their 2024 Women Africa Cup of Nations final round qualifying fixture in Abuja on Thursday.

 

Uchenna Kanu, with a first-half brace, and substitute Esther Okoronkwo, with a second-half brace, swept the nine-time African champions into a comfortable lead in the fixture and all but earned a place in the finals slated for Morocco in the summer of next year.

 

Gift Monday rocked the bar from a 22-yard free-kick in the 4th minute before Kanu reaped from a goalmouth melee that followed a corner kick to slot past goalkeeper Jacinta Rodrigues. Rodrigues did better two minutes later when she palmed a left-footed angled drive from captain Rasheedat Ajibade.

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In the 14th minute, Kleydiana Borges came close with a shot that was charged down by Oluwatosin Demehin, and five minutes later, Toni Payne missed from close range to let off the Cape Verdeans. However, Gift Monday made good from another goalmouth melee in the 25th minute, to make it two for the hosts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium.

 

Petite midfielder Deborah Abiodun, whose turns, swerves and sweet touches were a delight all evening, came close with a 25-yard volley on the half-hour mark, but Kanu made good again just before the break, making no mistake from a pass from Toni Payne on a swift counter-attack launched by Ajibade.

 

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In the second period, the Falcons again completely dominated, with Okoronkwo lifting the ball past Rodrigues in the 67th minute from a cross by Ajibade from the right, and then shot past the visiting goalkeeper from a Rofiat Imuran cross from the left with 13 minutes left.

 

Both teams will clash in the second leg in Praia, capital of Cape Verde on Tuesday, 5th December.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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