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Two-goal surge boosts Banyana Banyana to victory in WAFCON opener over Nigeria

The most highly anticipated group stage matchup at the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations saw defending champions Nigeria defeated 2-1 by South Africa to open Group C action on Monday at the Stade Moulay Hassan in Rabat. Jermaine Seoposenwe and Hildah Magaia scored during a second half breakthrough for Banyana Banyana, who avenged their defeat to Nigeria in the final of the 2018 WAFCON with a confidence-boosting victory over the Super Falcons. Rasheedat Ajibade struck late for Nigeria, who will look to get their campaign back on track Thursday against Botswana while South Africa face Burundi.

First half action was mostly even between the sides with excellent performances from both defenses. Nigeria superstar forward Asisat Oshoala looked dangerous at times but could not get a clear look at the goal of South Africa goalkeeper Andile Dlamini due to a determined defensive line. As the half wore on South Africa began to show their capabilities in attack as halftime arrived with the teams deadlocked.

Oshoala got her first clear opportunity in the opening five minutes of the second half, firing a rising effort that was well caught by Dlamini. Just after the hour mark it was South Africa, however, who snatched control of the match when Noxolo Cesane tracked down a lofted ball at the corner of the Nigerian penalty area. Cesane cut past Nigeria defender Ashleigh Plumptre before passing into the path of Seoposenwe, who took the ball under control before slotting past Nigeria keeper Tochukwu Oluehi.

Before Nigeria could get their bearings the Super Falcons were down two goals. A quick switch of play from Banyana Banyana led to Seoposenwe’s backheeled pass finding Refiloe Jane, who touched a through pass to Magaia for a convincing finish past the onrushing Oluehi. Nigeria struggled to recover from the double strike and could only muster a consolation in second half stoppage time when captain Onome Ebi assisted Rasheedat Ajibade for a finish from eight yards out.

Highlights from Rabat are below.

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