Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nigerian Ladies Out of Olympics


We had an idea this would happen, but we're sad nevertheless.

The Nigeria women's football team, the Super Falcons, were beaten 3-1 by Brazil on Tuesday at the Workers' Stadium in Beijing in their final group game at the Olympics.

The result left the Nigerian women bottom of the group with three defeats from three matches, and eliminated from the tournament.

They also lost 1-0 to Germany and 1-0 to North Korea besides the Brazil loss.

Nigeria were first to score, with a 19th-minute penalty driven home by Perpetua Nkwocha.

But Brazilian starlet Cristiane went on to bag a first-half hat-trick, as Brazil finished top of the group.

Her first was a powerful header in the 33rd minute, then two minutes later she scored with a stunning overhead kick.

The hat-trick was completed at the end of the first half with a shot after she was unmarked inside the penalty area.

Nigeria tried a few long-range shots after the break, but the best chance of the half fell to Cristiane.

The Brazilian forced a finger-tip save from Nigeria keeper Precious Dede with a shot from the edge of the area in the 65th minute.

Nigeria were dangerous on the break with Sarah Michael and Ifeanyi Chiejine causing trouble for the Brazilian defenders.

The three defeats for the Super Falcons mean that they have failed to improve on the 2004 Olympics, where they reached the quarter-finals.

But in a very difficult group, they performed with credit, though their strikers often let them down.

Despite defeat, Super Falcons coach Jossy Lad said he was satisfied with the performance of his team. However, he blamed the strikers for the defeat.

“Before this event some people called this group the zone of death and you can see it is not easy to play against Brazil, Germany and Korea in the same competition. The girls gave their best.

“Against Brazil the problem was not that of luck but rather our attack failed to click. We created scoring chances but failed to utilize them. I am disappointed with the attackers because I worked so hard in this area.

“The players showed so much promise in training but failed to perform when it mattered most. Football is a crazy game, we gave a good performance but failed to get the results and so we are out.”

Maybe next time, eh?

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