Nigeria and Ghana rivalry in the Beautiful Game ended one-all wednesday in one of the group matches of the ongoing 10th Women Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.
The Super Falcons who are on the same four points as the Black Queens remain top of Group B on goals difference.
Even as defending champion, Nigeria failed to crack the Black Queens from Accra with several missed chances despite taking the lead in the 19th minute of the clash at the Stade Omnisports Limbe when Asisat Oshoala scored her fifth of the tournament.
Head coach of the African champions, Florence Omagbemi, made just a change to the team that defeat Mali 6-0. Uchechi Sunday dropped to the bench with Success Wogu taking her place. EA Guingamp striker Desire Oparanozie again started from the bench as he is said to have shaken off the minor injury she suffered before the start of the tournament.
On 19 minutes, Ghana failed to deal with a dead-ball whipped into their box by Faith Ikidi, resulting in Portia Boakye turning the ball into her own goal to give Nigeria a slender lead.
The final 10 minutes was more of a Ghana dominance as they broke forward in search of drawing level.
Six minutes before the break, Hasaacas Ladies forward, Samira Suleman, then tried her luck from range after cutting inside of her marker, but the Nigeria stopper Alaba Jonathan had her angle well covered.
Inside the last five minutes, Ghana equalised from the spot through Elizabeth Addo who the South African referee, Akhona Makalima adjudged was kicked on the ankle by Halimatu Ayinde in the Nigeria box.
Addo’s goal late in the first half meant the second half was finely balanced.
The second half got underway with the Nigeria captain Rita Chikwelu returning with a bandage on her head.
The Black Queens were surely the composed side in the early openings of the restart and on 58 minutes, Alaba in Nigeria’s goal had to be alert to save Boakye’s low cross from the right channel.
On the hour mark, it was the turn of Ghana goalkeeper Ama Nana Asantewaa to palm away Osarenoma Igbinovia’s free kick before the ref called for an infringement against Nigeria’s Super Falcons on the Police Ladies custodian.
Ghana’s goal scorer, Addo, proved to be a constant headache for the Nigerian backline with her guile and pace on the ball.
The Falcons will Kenya’s Harambee Starlets on Saturday while Ghana go up against Mali. Both games will be played simultaneously.
Speaking at a post-match conference, Super Falcons Head Coach, Florence Omagbemi, admitted that the game was great and both teams played well. “Ghana gave us a good match and it was an impressive game. A draw (1-1) is not a bad result. We played well and were not expecting to draw. ”
The ex international was however sad that the South African Centre Referee refused to award Nigeria a lastminute deserved penalty.
“The foul on Asisat Oshoala was a clear penalty in my own assessment. I was disappointed in the referee not making the call,” Omagbemi declared.
The Falcons coach is looking forward to Nigeria’s last Group B game against Kenya. “I’m looking forward to the game with Kenya and get a good result. We just want to play convincingly against Kenya and hopefully top the group.”