Champions Super Falcons on Saturday defeated Equatorial Guinea 6-0 in their last group match of the Ghana 2018 Africa Women ’s Cup of Nations .
With the result , the Nigerians progressed to the semi – finals of the competition , after finishing second in Group B with six points behind South Africa , who drew 1- 1 with Zambia to top the group with seven points. Zambia finished third with four points while the Equatoguineans had no point.
The Falcons will play the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon in the first semi -final at the Accra Sports Stadium on Tuesday while Banyana Banyana battle tournament’s surprise team Mali in the second semi – final at the Cape Coast stadium .
A hat – trick by Africa Women ’s Player of the Year Asisat Oshoala and goals from striker Desire Oparanozie , Francesca Ordega , and veteran midfielder Rita Chikwelu inflicted the third defeat on the Nzalang Nacional.
The Falcons had begun the tournament on a shaky note losing 1 – 0 to Banyana Banyana but they bounced back with a 4- 0 win over the She -polopolo before ensuring that their title defence stayed on track with the win on Saturday.
Coach Thomas Dennerby retained the starting line- up in the Zambian match as Tochukwu Oluehi remained in goal while Josephine Chukwunonye , Onome Ebi , Osinachi Ohale and Ngozi Ebere were in defence. Chikwelu, Halimatu Ayinde , Ngozi Okobi and Ordega were in the midfield , with Oshoala and Oparanozie leading the attack.
Nigeria dominated play from the blast of the whistle , with Oparanozie wasting a one-on -one with the Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper as early as the 2nd minute . Four minutes later, Oshoala , who was adjudged Woman -of -the – Match , could only send the ball over the bar from a free – kick .
However , the Falcons went into the lead in the 10th minute through Ordega . The Atletico Madrid midfielder shot beyond the keeper after she was set up by Chikwelu. In the 12th minute , Oshoala ended her drought in the competition as she found the back of the net from a pull -out by Oparanozie .
The Falcons then wasted series of opportunities with Okobi and Oparanozie sending the ball wide in the 18th and 19th minutes . Oshoala got the third goal in the 23rd minute when she latched onto a pass from Ayinde and sent the ball beyond the hapless goalkeeper. The China -based forward completed her hattrick in the 34 th minute after she headed home from an Oparanozie cross.
In the second half , the Nzalang Nacional looked brighter and poured forward to reduce the damage but they were pegged back in their area by the superior firepower of the Falcons .
Oparanozie increased the score in the 48th minute when her shot was deflected into the net after she had received a pass from Ordega. Chikwelu added the sixth in the 63rd minute – shooting home after a pass from Ebere found her unmarked .