2024 Olympics qualifying third round: Super Falcons earn a draw in Cameroon

2024 Olympics qualifying third round: Super  Falcons earn a draw in Cameroon
Credit: Icon Sport

The Super Falcons of Nigeria faced Cameroon in the first leg of their Paris 2024 Olympics third round clash at Stade de la Reunification in Douala on Friday evening.

Despite Nigeria's dominance over the hosts in recent times, the Indomitable Lionesses proved to be the better team in the game and could have come out with a win had Chiamaka Nnadozie not been at her best in goal for Randy Waldrum's side.

Nonetheless, both teams settled for a goalless draw in a fiercely contested first leg affair in Douala to set up a winner-takes-all second leg in Nigeria next week.

Here's how it all went down!

Cameroon didn't take their chances in the first-half

The Indomitable Lionesses began the match in electrifying fashion as they pegged the Falcons in their own half with some series of dangerous attacks.

The early onslaught from the hosts could have resulted in a goal around the 11th minute mark but Nigeria's goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie was at her best to deny the Lionesses.

Having soaked up enough pressure from Cameroon, Randy Waldrum's side started to get themselves in the game with their first chance on goal coming after 28 minutes of play.

A brilliant run from Tony Payne with the ball resulted in a failed set up for Asisat Oshoala who was in a good position to open the scoring.

The hosts again had another chance to score in the 39th minute but Nnadozie produced a superb save to keep the score level.

Both sides then headed into the break with Cameroon the better side but a spirited performance in goal from the Super Falcons goalie ensured that Nigeria didn't fall behind.

Ashleigh Plumptre in action for Nigeria
Credit: Icon Sport

A disallowed goal in the second half

Following a first-half performance that Nigeria were a shadow of themselves, Waldrum sought inspiration from the bench as the second half got underway by bringing on Jennifer Echegini and Esther Okoronkwo for Halimatu Ayinde and Toni Payne.

Ultimately, Super Falcons' unwillingness to let the game slip away from them proved a source of motivation as the substitutes began to assert themselves in the match.

In the 54th minute, Echegini thought to have scored for Nigeria but the referee ruled her effort for an offside to the relief of Cameroon.

With the Falcons in control, another chance fell for Oshoala who was set up by the lively Echegini, but the former Barcelona Femeni player didn't put so much power in her shot which ended up to be an easy pick for the Lionesses' goalkeeper.

Both coaches rang changes to see if one of them could snatch a winner but every effort on goal yielded nothing. And with time tilting down to the 90th minute mark, both teams had to settle for a goalless draw, a result which means there's all to play for in the return leg.

The Super Falcons will host Cameroon in the second leg of the 2024 Olympic qualifiers next Monday at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja.

The winner of the game will either face South Africa or Tanzania in the Olympic playoffs.

Nigeria Super Falcons Starting XI against Cameroon

Chiamaka Nnadozie (GK); Ashleigh Plumptre, Oluwatosin Demehin, Osinachi Ohale, Michelle Alozie; Halimatu Ayinde, Christy Ucheibe, Deborah Abiodun, Rasheedat Ajibade; Asisat Oshoala, Toni Payne.

Subs: Tochukwu Oluehi, Linda Jiwuaku, Ifeoma Onumonu, Ijeoma Okoronkwo; Akudo Ogbonna, Jennifer Echegini, Rofiat Imuran, Rinsola Babajide, Gift Monday.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

Joseph is a graduate engineer turned sports writer, he has covered lots of sports stories, match previews and predictions across various leagues on the planet.