Durban - Banyana Banyana started their WAFCON campaign on a brilliant note by claiming a vital 2-1 win over Nigeria at the Stade Moulay Hassan Stadium on Monday night.
Jemaine Seoposenwe opened the scoring for Banyana Banyana after the hour mark. The goal came after Noxolo Cesane met a cross from Thembi Kgatlana before finding Seoposenwe.
Just a minute later, South Africa doubled their lead. Hildah Magaia finished off a counter-attacking move and slotted home.
Despite being the second best team for the majority of the game, Nigeria pulled a goal back in second half stoppage time as Rasheedat Ajibade finished clinically following a corner.
Banyana had their first opportunity of the game within 12 minutes. Kgatlana floated in a low cross from the right hand side but Seoposenwe failed to meet the ball properly.
Desiree Ellis’ charges dominated possession in the first half but the opening 45 minutes of the game was very technical with neither side really exerting their domination.
The South Africans came close to notching an opener after 36 minutes as Kgatlana worked in a deceptive free-kick. The Nigerians were caught off guard and fortunately for them it did not go according to plan for Banyana as the ball went out of play.
Just a minute later, Nigeria also carved out their best opportunity of the opening half as Toni Payne and Michelle Alozie showed good chemistry before the former shot for goal. It was wide but South African goalkeeper Andile Dlamini did appear to have her post covered.
Banyana’s 4-4-2 formation was countered by Nigeria using a 4-3-3 tactical setup when they attacked and drifting into a 4-5-1 setup when they defended.
Early in the second half, Oshoala showed her brilliance and after finding herself on the receiving end of a long ball, struck powerfully for goal. Dlamini was alert in goal for South Africa making a diving save look easy.
The result puts Banyana Banyana in firm control of Group C which is expected to be a contest between them and Nigeria.
Nigerian goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi was lucky to not be red carded in the 80th minute after she came out of her box and inflicted a late sliding challenge on Kgatlana.
The outcome of the game will also be a huge confidence boost for Banyana who will have the belief that they can win the WAFCON after finishing as runners up in the last edition to the Super Falcons in 2018.
Ellis’ charges will next be in action on Thursday night against Burundi. Nigeria now have their work cut out when they play against Botswana later on the same night.