Nigeria’s dream of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games came crushing on home soil after Cote d’Ivoire held to a 1-1 draw on Monday in Lagos, a result which saw the Ivorians go through via away goals after a similar scoreline on aggregate.
The African champions having failed to qualify for the last two editions of the quadrennial multi-sports events in 2012 (London) and 2016 (Rio de Janeiro), will have to wait for another four years (Paris 2024) after the Ivorians scuppered their dream with two round of matches to go.
After a barren draw in Abidjan four days earlier, the Super Falcons were favoured to finish the job in Agege, but coach Clementine Toure and her charges had other ideas.
It was the visitors who went up after 12 minutes courtesy Nina Zote Kpaho from a well-taken free-kick. Nigeria captain Asisat Oshoala replied on 32 minutes to draw level.
The Nigerians were frustrated by the Ivorians who thwarted all their efforts at goal in the second period, and painfully edged out the nine-time African champions in the race to Tokyo 2020.
Cote d’Ivoire will face the winner of DR Congo versus Cameroon to be played in Kinshasa tomorrow (Tuesday, 8 October 2019) at the penultimate round of the qualifiers. Other matches are Kenya- Ghana in Nairobi and surprise packets Botswana at home in Francistown against Zambia.
Africa has one automatic slot with the runner-up facing Chile in a playoff.
07.10.2019 Lagos Nigeria 1-1 Cote d’Ivoire (0-0)
08.10.2019 Kinshasa DR Congo vs Cameroon (0-2)
08.10.2019 Nairobi Kenya vs Ghana (0-0)
08.10.2019 Francistown Botswana vs Zambia (0-1)
Photo @FIFCI twitter