African champions, Nigeria have been knocked out of the qualifying campaign for the 2020 Olympic Games after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Cote d’Ivoire in the second leg of their third round tie played in Lagos on Monday.
Having played to a goalless draw in the first leg at the Parcs des Sports, Treichville in Abidjan on October 3 and the Super Falcons were confident of scaling through at home, but their hopes were dashed by the away goal rule which favoured the Elephants.
Indeed, the Ivorians stunned their hosts with an early lead on the 12th minute through Nina Kpaho Zote and the Nigerians, hoping to return to the Olympics, having missed out on 2012 and 2016, equalized through their captain, Asisat Oshoala on the 34th minute.
Cote d'Ivoire held Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in their game at the Agege Stadium in Lagos
That, however, was not enough to secure the win as the Ivorians closed their defence much to the frustration of their hosts.
The record Women's Africa Cup of Nations champions, represented the continent at three consecutive Olympic Games at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 editions, but have since failed to qualify for the subsequent tournaments, with Cameroun and South Africa representing in 2012 and South Africa and Zimbabwe at the 2016 edition.
Nina Kpaho scored for Cote d'Ivoire Captain Asisat Oshoala's equaliser was not enough
The result handed Cote d’Ivoire a crucial win on the away goal rule and an onward march into the fourth round of the competition, where they will play the winners of the Democratic Republic of Congo versus Cameroun encounter to be played at Kinshasa on October 8.
The Camerounians beat the Congolese 2-0 in the first leg honoured in Yaounde on October 3.