• Babajide EverBlazin

WAFCON 2022: Gallant Super Falcons bows out, as Morocco reaches first final

Despite Nigeria's brace display against Morocco on Monday, the Super Falcons failed to reach the WAFCON final for the third time only after a 5-4 shootout loss to the Atlas Lionesses.

Morocco qualified for a first final of the Women's African Cup of Nations by defeating Nigeria, whose two important players were sent off in a nail-biting contest in Rabat on Monday.

Halimatu Ayinde and Rasheedat Ajibade were both sent off on different occasions for ferocious tackles which were both decided by the VAR.

In the keenly contested fixture played at the filled Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, the Falcons started the game on a bright note, they took the game to the Lionesses of Atlas who weren't a bad side either.

And with the loads of goalscoring chances created by both sides, none of them could break the other as the first half ended goalless.

In the second half, Reynald Pedros’s side came refreshed and stronger while while the Falcons were reduced to ten players after enterprising Ayinde was given the marching orders after the VAR reviewed her dangerous tackle on Rosella Ayane.

The Atlas Lionesses almost took advantage of the Nigerians’ numerical disadvantage with Ashleigh Plumptre forced to make a timely goal-line clearance after Onome Ebi’s shot was diverted towards for her own net.

Waldrum’s side took the lead two minutes after the hour mark courtesy of Mrabet’s own goal. Onumonu headed a cross from Ajibade which hit the crossbar before the 22-year-old bundled Kanu’s rebound past goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi.

Nigeria's lead only lasted four minutes as the Lionesses equalized through Sanaa Mssoudy. Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie’s save from Annie fell in the path of the ASFAR forward, who slotted the ball inside an empty net.

Shortly after Morocco's equalizer, the Mauritania referee, having reviewed another harsh tackle on Zineb Redouani, sent off Rasheedat Ajibade as the Falcons had to settle for an ultra defensive style of play.

Morocco completely dominated the game but their major undoing was failing to convert the several begging opportunities that came their way coupled with the brilliance of Nnadozie.

With the score tied 1-1 after 120 minutes, the North Africans edged the reigning African champions 5-4 on penalties and will now face South Africa in the final on Friday.

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