Nigeria’s Super Falcons defeated visiting Algeria 1-0 yesterday at the Agege Stadium to qualify 3-0 aggregate for the next stage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women’s football.
The African champions are to play Cote d’Ivoire in the next round of the qualifying tournament later this month.
FC Barcelona star Asisat Oshoala grabbed the winner for Falcons in the 57th minute after the visitors did everything to keep a clean slate in the first half.
Playing with Nigeria’s new Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, in the stands, the Falcons missed several chances despite the fact that they were boosted by the inclusion of six foreign-based pros after they first leg win in Blida, Algeria last week.
There were a number of misses from the Nigerian side with Amarachi Okoronkwo heaving her shot a little too high in the 6th minute, before goalkeeper Kahina Takenint, who impressed on the evening, saved from Asisat Oshoala.
A minute later, Takenint saved as Rasheedat Ajibade curled a smart one from a tight angle.
On the quarter hour, Oshoala dashed down the right and sent in a grounder, but the ball went begging for connection.
Six minutes from recess, Yasmine Benlazar headed over the bar as the Algerians threatened.
In the second period, the visitors improved their game, and Lina Khelif, Horiya Affak, Benlazar, Megane Belkhiter, Mounia Houheche and Lyidia Belkacemi were impressive with their ball sense, positioning, ball distribution and anticipation, cutting off the Falcons from doing damage, and looking anything but a team that the Falcons had beaten 2-0 in Blida six days earlier.
It took a strong solo run and finish from Oshoala, after all-action forward Francisca Ordega intercepted the ball at the halfway mark in the 57th minute, for the Falcons to break the deadlock.
Ngozi Okobi impressed in the middle with clever touches and silky passes, and Oshoala’s teasing crosses kissed the crossbar a couple of times, but Nigeria would not add to the scoreline.
An own goal by an Algerian defender and a second half strike by midfielder Amarachi Okoronkwo gave the Falcons the robust first leg advantage last week in Blida.