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Final Round of Paris Olympics Qualifiers: Falcons Beat Cameroon and Face S’Africa

Yesterday, in Abuja’s Moshood Abiola Stadium, the Super Falcons of Nigeria defeated Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses 1-0 to advance to the round of 16 in the qualifying round for the 2024 Paris Olympic Women’s football tournament.

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The match was won by Nigeria thanks to a goal by Esther Okoronkwo, who started instead of Asisat Oshaola. The goal came in the 14th minute and sent Nigeria to the final round of qualifying. They will likely face Banyana Banyana of South Africa, who defeated Angola 3-0 in their third round qualifier last week.

In the thirteenth minute, prior to Okoronkwo’s masterful attempt, Jennifer Echegini—whose goal in Douala on Friday was controversially disallowed—had already blazed past the goalposts. Cameroon nearly scored in the 32nd minute on a corner kick when Menene Meyong headed the ball towards the far corner, but goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie made a diving save.

Bihina saved attempts from Ajibade and Okoronkwo, and in the final two minutes of the first session, Mana Lamine of Cameroon blasted a shot over the crossbar.

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Despite Ajibade’s and Echegini’s (substitutes Akudo Ogbonna and Asisat Oshoala) best efforts, Bihina maintained a shutout in the second half. Nnadozie extended her entire body to parry the ball out of harm’s way just before the hour mark, when Marie Ngah Manga got her head on a cross from the energetic substitute Marie Enganemben. Cameroon appeared to have equalized soon after.

During a weird rush by Cameroonian players to touch Nnadozie’s net, the volatile Enganemben pushed Nnadozie, resulting in the Lionesses finishing with 10 men.

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