South Africa pulled off a big upset as they pipped Nigeria’s Super Falcons 4-2 to win the 2021 Aisha Buhari women’s invitational tournament in the closing match at the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium, Onikan on Tuesday, September 21.
Goals from Linda Motlhalo, Gabrielle Salgado, Mamello Makhabane and Michelle Alozie’s early own goal ensured Desiree Ellis’ side outscored the African champions despite a maiden brace from Vivian Ikechukwu at the Onikan Stadium.
Banyana Banyana made one change to their starting XI that defeated Ghana 3-0 in the first match. Kgadiete Melinda came in for Holweni Sibulele; while Ellis kept faith in their set-up with Jane Refiloe leading the attack against the Super Falcons, CAF Online reports
Banyana had the first opportunity by the seventh minute.
Kgatlana sent through a pass in the area from the left. Super Falcons’ defender Alozie mistakenly tapped in to hand the visitors the lead.
Thereafter, South Africa piled up pressure on the Nigerian defence. Eventually, a high ball came into the area and Onome Ebi’s handball in the box gifted Banyana a penalty. Molthalo converted brilliantly from the spot in the 19th minute.
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A minute from the half time break, the rampant COSAFA Women’s Cup champions condemned Nigeria to its biggest first half defeat on the continent when Salgado tapped in a straying deflected pass across the face of the West Africans’ defence.
Buoyed by their worst start on the continent; Falcons’coach Randy Waldrum made some changes to his side. Substitute Ikechukwu pulled one back two minutes after the restart. The Super Falcons maintained their high pressing for a possible comeback through the combined youthful attack of Gift Monday and Ikechukwu; with the latter eventually managing to reduce the deficit to one seven minutes later.
Despite the Falcons’ growing hope for a possible equaliser at the closing stages; South Africa dashed their dreams and they won a late penalty. Makhabane fired in the fourth to guarantee the shock triumph in Lagos.
The victory saw Banyana Banyana emerged maiden Aisha Buhari Cup champions. They claimed six points from two games and avenged their 2018 TotalEnergies Africa Women’s Cup of Nations final defeat to Nigeria in Ghana; while also recording their biggest ever win over the nine-time African winners.