Falconets dump Basetsana to qualify for U-20 Women World Cup
WHEN some of their compatriots had written them off as another statistic in the catalogue of the dwindling fortune of Nigerian women teams, the Falconets at the weekend in South Africa proved their mettle by beating their hosts, Basetsana, 1-0 to qualify for the 2016 FIFA U-20 World Cup on a 3-1 aggregate score.
The 2016 U-20 Women World Cup will hold in Papua New Guinea.
The Nigerians beat their opponents 2-1 in the first leg in Abuja prompting many analysts to dismiss their chances of surviving in the second leg in South Africa. But they just did that with Chinwendu Ihezuo getting the winning goal.
The hosts endured a sloppy start to the game but had the first meaningful effort in the 14th minute when Gabriela Salgado’s long-range effort sailed just over the crossbar.
However, the Nigerians took the lead just a minute later when Ihezuo turned home a cross from the right flank to extend the aggregate lead to 3-1.
The Falconets squandered a chance to double their lead in the 21st minute when Uchenna Kanu picked out Ihezuo, who headed over from six-yards out.
Basetsana nearly leveled matters in the 30th minute when Linda Motlahalo was played through on goal, however, the midfielder was thwarted by a fine save by Nigerian goalkeeper, Sandra Chichi.
The hosts nearly found themselves level five minutes into the second half, as Salgado struck frame of the goal directly from a corner.
Kanu then missed a wonderful chance to double the Falconets’ advantage a few minutes later, as she placed her effort wide of the mark from inside the six-yard area.
Basetsana continued to create openings but lacked the composure, as Thembi Kgatlana hurried her effort when she was left one-on-one of the goalkeeper.
Kgatlana squandered a big chance in the 76th minute, as she failed to beat the on-rushing Chichi from close range, while they failed to convert the rebound.
The South Africans continued to push on for an equalising goal but they could not bypass for watertight Nigerian defence.