The Beninoise were no match for the superior firepower of the Nigerian u20 national team, and they crumbled in front of the former World Cup finalists
Esther Onyenezide’s brilliant double inspired Nigeria’s Falconets to beat Benin 3-0 at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Wednesday evening to seal passage into the final of the 2023 WAFU B U20 Girls Cup of Nations.
Ahead of this semifinal clash, the Falconets were the tournament’s form team, having won all three of their games in Ghana, scoring 16 goals and conceding none. And there was no doubt they were the massive favourites to sweep past Benin and take an important step towards winning their first honour of 2023.
Benin, though, were looking for an upset win over the Nigerians – a repeat of their Group A triumph over Ivory Coast last week.
But Nigeria’s Falconets had no intention of taking any prisoner. In the 24th minute, Amina Bello drove through the heart of Benin’s defence to lash the ball past the goalkeeper for the opener.
Esther Ajakaye, arguably the best player at the tournament, was having trouble outwitting her Beninoise markers, but Flourish Sabastine was enjoying taunting the opponents. And in the 33rd minute, the Nigerian number nine drew a foul in the danger area forcing the referee to point to the spot for a penalty kick.
Esther Onyenezide stepped forward confidently and converted brilliantly to double the Falconets’ advantage.
The Falconets continued to dominate proceedings even in the second half, and on the hour-mark, it became three-nil for the two-time U20 Women’s World Cup finalist.
Onyenezide went on a solo run and danced past two defenders before slotting into the net for her fourth goal of the tournament.
The Nigerian girls had other chances to add to the scoreline, but no one could apply the finishing touch. Still, when the referee blasted for the final whistle, the Falconets had done enough to deserve the convincing win.
With the victory, Nigeria have progressed to the final of the WAFU B U20 Girls Cup, where they will face Ghana.
The Ghanaians, earlier in the other semifinal, defeated Burkina Faso 3-1 to book their spot in Sunday’s final.