Nigeria’s Super Falcons have successfully defended their Africa Women Cup of Nations title by defeating Cameroon 1-0 at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde on Saturday.
EA Guincamp Ladies forward Desire Oparanozie delivered the winner at the death despite the dominance of the hosts, Cameroon in the contest.
The opening exchanges were all about the Cameroonians who attacked relentlessly.
Gabrielle Onguene carved out the first chance of the game when she skipped past three Nigerian players before shooting wide from inside the box.
Nigeria’s best chance in the opening minutes fell to Vittsjo GIK midfielder, Ngozi Okobi, who could only fired over on the turn.
Onguene’s pace continued to trouble the Nigerian backline but the Lionness could not make their early attacking play count.
Just less than 15 minutes to the break Cameroon had a glorious chance when Madeleine Ngono Mani was left with just Nigeria stopper, Jonathan Alaba, to beat. The Nigerian goalkeeper did enough to tip away Mani’s attempt before Onome Ebi cleared.
The African champions began the restart on the backfoot as Onguene, Deborah Gaelle Enganamouit, Mani and co kept pressing play.
Twice Mani came close. First she struck a free kick inches over and then followed up another fine attempt at goal, forcing Jonathan to make a timely save to keep the game scoreless.
Inside the final quarter of an hour in regulation time, Enganamouit then took a pop at Nigeria’s goal, but Jonathan looked untroubled as she kept her cool to gather the ball.
Seven minutes to time, Onguene was played through on goal but she could only squeezed in a tame shot from a rather difficult angle without troubling Jonathan.
Within a minute and out of the blues, Oparanozie dragged the ball past her marker inside the box and then calmly fired it low and left-footed beyond an outstretched Annette Ngo Ndom in Cameroon’s goal with.
That was about the only time that the Nigerians made a meaningful move into the goal area of Cameroon in the second 45 minutes.
Nigeria saw off the added time to be crowned for a record eighth time as African champions.