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Starlets thrashed by Nigeria to bow out winless in AWCON

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Harambee Starlets players line up before the match against Ghana's Black Queens. PHOTO/CAF
Harambee Starlets players line up before the match against Ghana’s Black Queens. PHOTO/CAF

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 26 – Harambee Starlets bowed out of the 2016 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations winless after falling 4-0 to defending champions Nigeria in their last Group B match in Limbe, Cameroon on Saturday.

Debutants Starlets, who were already eliminated from the competition, conceded two goals in the opening seven minutes to see the Super Falcons of Nigeria book a semi-final date with South Africa.

In the other Group B match, Ghana beat Mali 3-1 to sail through into the last four where they will meet hosts Cameroon.

Starlets head coach David Ouma made four changes from the squad that lost 3-1 to Mali with the notable inclusion seeking Samantha Akinyi dropped to the bench for Vivian Akinyi.

Coming from a 1-1 draw against Ghana, Nigeria started on a high and they could find the opening goal in the first minute but Dorcas Shikobe did well to thwart Nigeria’s superstar Asisat Oshoala’s effort after she was put through by her captain.

Nigeria’s effort paid a minute later when poor clearance from Starlets defender landed on Swedish based Ngozi Okobi who superbly drove a fine shot from 18 yards into the top corner for the opener.

Before Kenya could re-organize themselves, Nigeria found the back of the net again for their second goal this time through left-back Faith Akidi who fantastically scored a beautiful header after connecting Halimatu Ayinde’s free-kick.

Kenya grew into the game, improving her defence to deny a star-studded Nigeria on several occasions with Akinyi stopping Ayinde and Oshoala who plays her professional football in England’s Arsenal ladies football team.

On the stroke of half-time, Nigeria came close when Oshoala received a long ball from the midfield to loop over on rushing Akinyi only to see the ball go wide as Kenya survived.

Nigeria returned on a high and it only took them seven minutes into the second half to find the third goal through Ohoala who sneaked from the left to neatly finish and record her sixth goal of the tournament.

The Super Falcons finished the job two minutes to full time when Francisca Ordega produced a great pace from the left wing to swing in a cross that was controlled on the thigh by Desire Oparanozie before she smashed home to seal the win.

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