Nigeria women seize initiative in Olympic Games qualifier against South Africa

Nigeria surged ahead with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against South Africa in the first-leg of the final qualification round for the women at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in Abuja on Friday.
Rasheedat Ajibade was the heroine for the Super Falcons as her converted penalty sealed the victory for the home side in their final qualifier.
The Super Falcons asserted their dominance early in the match, with Ihezuo narrowly missing a scoring opportunity in the fifth minute after a precise pass from Echigini.
Thirteen minutes later, Ihezuo's header from Okeke's cross further threatened the Banyana Banyana defence, signaling the home side's intent.
These near misses served as a prelude to Nigeria's breakthrough just before halftime.
A determined run by Chinwendu Ihezuo into the penalty area culminated in a foul, leading to the referee awarding a penalty in favor of Nigeria.
Ajibade stepped up to the spot and calmly converted, granting the Super Falcons a crucial lead as half-time beckoned.
Banyana Banyana launched a spirited fightback after the break with Seoposenwe tested Nigerian goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie in the 56th minute, but her efforts were thwarted.
Nnadozie continued to showcase her prowess, making another crucial save four minutes later to maintain Nigeria's advantage.
With the final whistle blowing, Nigeria emerged triumphant with a slender 1-0 victory in the inaugural leg of the final qualifying round.
South Africa now face an uphill battle as they seek to overturn the deficit during the return leg slated for April 9 in Pretoria