The Super falcons on Saturday in Abuja struggled to a 1-1 home draw with Equatorial Guinea in the first leg match of their 2016 Olympic Games Qualifying Fixture. In the match played at the National Stadium’s mainbowl, the Falcons really struggled to stamp their authority and put the match under control.
With the visitors always threatening through the flanks, the Falcons who were already missing the pace of Asisat Oshoala upfront were always cautious going forward. But, after 25 minutes, Halimat Ayinde put her team in the driving seat with good shot from a good turn on the right side of the opposing penalty box.
They however failed to build on this lead, with Desire Oparanozie lacking support upfront as the Falcons looked bereft of goal scoring ideas. When the teams returned for the second half, it was the Equatorial Guinea side that were holding the initiative as they kept the Nigerian side on the backfoot.
They soon translated their dominance to advantage, with Nigerian-born Chinasa Okoro drawing the visitors level in the 62nd minute after a defensive mix-up. The Falcons poured forward thereafter, but they were always coming up short with the forwardline failing to break down the Equatorial Guinea defence.
Speaking after the game, stand-in Falcons coach Christopher Danjuma apologized to their fans and other Nigerians for the result. He added however that his team was not going to be making excuses, even though they were encumbered by emotional problems and the absence of some players.
“We apologise for the result and the way the match went. But the team, even though we are not people who will want to be making excuses, had a number of problems. “We were affected emotionally by what happened in our camp on Thursday, and we missed some of our best players,’’ Danjuma said.
On his part, coach Miguel Pozanco said his team were able to get the draw because they were a strong side and were well aware of the Falcons capabilities. “We knew the falcons very well, and really prepared ourselves, even though we also have a good team.
“And this is why we will not take the second leg game lightly. We will not take the Falcons for granted,’’ he said. The second leg match will come up in Malabo in two weeks’ time.