The final of this year’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations will be contested between hosts Morocco and pre-tournament favourites South Africa.
Morocco advanced to the final after knocking out defending champions Nigeria 5-4 on post-match penalties after the match had ended 1-1 after both normal and extra time at the Complexe Sportif Prince Moulay-Abdellah on Monday.
After a goalless first half, Nigeria suffered a blow when midfielder Halimatu Ayinde was sent off just three minutes into the second half after a VAR review for a dangerous foul. The Super Falcons, however, managed to take the lead in the 62nd minute when Yasmin Katie Mrabet put the ball into her own net under pressure from Nigeria’s Uchenna Kanu, who tried to pounce on a loose ball in the penalty box.
Morocco leveled the tie just four minutes later when Sanaa Mssoudy fired a rebound into the net after Nigerian goalkeeper Cynthia Nnadozie spilled a cross into her path.
Things went from bad to worse for Nigeria shortly thereafter as Rasheedat Ajibade was also shown a red card for a dangerous challenge. Both teams pushed for a winner but neither side managed to get a breakthrough even during extra time.
Morocco converted all their spot-kicks, with Rosella Ayane netting the winning penalty, while Ifeoma Onumonu crucially missed Nigeria’s second effort.
As Morocco’s Atlas Lionesses celebrated reaching their first-ever WAFCON final, Nigeria was left reflecting on their failure to make the final for the first time since 2012.
The first semifinal saw South Africa edge Zambia 1-0 courtesy of a penalty by Linda Motlhalo deep into added time to send the South Africans into their second consecutive WAFCON final.
The final will be played at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on Saturday with Morocco and South Africa aiming to clinch the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title for the first time.
The third/fourth place playoff will see Nigeria take on Zambia at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca a day earlier.
(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)