Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria are the latest 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers after advancing to the final of the African Women’s Championship. Thursday, Nigeria dominated Cameroon in a 5-1 semifinal victory and Equatorial Guinea topped South Africa 3-1 in overtime in the second semifinal.
By advancing to the semifinals of the CAF Women’s Championship, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea automatically qualify for the World Cup. Unlike CONCACAF, there is no hope for the third place finisher in Africa, so Sunday’s third-place game between Cameroon and South Africa will be irrelevant to each country’s aspirations of qualifying.
Shockingly, the match between Equatorial Guinea and South Africa ended 0-0 after regulation before the two teams combined for four goals in the 30 minute extra time. The start of the second half of regulation was a wild scene. South African players were late to emerge from the locker room at the half and, wasting no time, the referee began the match with just eight South Africans on the field. Equatorial Guinea could not take advantage of the situation, though, and the three remaining South Africans found their way onto the field two minutes into the second half.
In the 102nd minute, Salimata Simpore put Equatorial Guinea ahead when she beat South Africa goalkeeper Mndaweni Thoko Zile. Just six minutes later, Equatorial Guinea would double its lead when South Africa defender Dluibu mistakenly put the ball into her own net. Simpore would score again in the 115th minute to make it 3-0, before South Africa striker Dlamin Amanda got a consolation goal just before the final whistle.
Equatorial Guinea now goes through to Sunday’s final to defend its 2008 CAF Women’s Championship, but more importantly qualifies for its first-ever Women’s World Cup. Meanwhile, South Africa was unable to avenge its 2008 final loss.
Nigeria will serve as Equatorial Guinea’s opponent Sunday. With Thursday’s 5-1 win over Cameroon, the Super Falcons booked their sixth consecutive ticket to the Women’s World Cup.
Cameroon’s Bou Cathy changed the game when she was sent off in the 27th minute. Helen Ukaonu opened the scoring in the 32nd minute when her corner kick went straight into the net and Desire Oparanozie headed in Stella Mbachu’s cross with the last touch of the half to put Nigeria up 2-0.
Ngock Grace got one back for Cameroon just two minutes after halftime, but Perpetua Nkwocha went off for a second half hat-trick, scoring in the 58th, 64th and 80th minutes, giving Nigeria the 5-1 win. Her last goal came from the penalty spot and was her 10th of the competition.
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