Nigeria Wins African Women’s Championship; Brazil, Argentina, Colombia Move to Second Stage at CONMEBOL

If it weren’t for two own goals late in the game, Equatorial Guinea may be calling themselves the winners of the 2010 African Women’s Championship. Instead, Nigeria came away as champions with a 5-2 win. In today’s final at Sinaba Stadium in South Africa, Nigeria went up 1-0 with a goal by Perpetua Nkwocha in the seventh minute. It was her 11th goal of the tournament. She scored in all of Nigeria’s five games. The game remained 1-0 until the 66th minute with Equatorial Guinea’s Carolina Parreira scored the equalizer. Ugochi Oparanozie then put Nigeria up 2-1 with her goal in the 77th minute. But in the 81st minute, an own goal by Equatorial Guinea gave Nigeria a 3-1 lead. That lead fell to 3-2 one minute later when Jada Sayo scored for Equatorial Guinea. And one minute after that, another own goal sunk Equatorial Guinea for good. Regardless of the outcome, both Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria are heading to the 2011 World Cup. In the third-place match today, South Africa beat Cameroon, 2-0, on goals by Nocawe Skiti and Amanda Dlamini.

Saturday in Ecuador, wins by Brazil and Colombia sent the two nations to the second stage of the CONMEBOL qualifiers. Cristiane scored twice and Marta scored once in a 3-0 win over Paraguay, while Colombia blanked Uruguay, 8-0. Colombia comes into the second stage, which begins Nov. 17, with the most goals scored (17) in the group stage. Brazil scored 13 in its four games and allowed the fewest (1). Ecuador almost shocked the world Friday. The host nation beat Argentina, 1-0, but unfortunately needed to win by more than three goals against the Argentinians to keep them out of the World Cup for the first time since 1999. Ingrid Rodriguez scored the game’s only goal. In the other Group A match Friday, Bolivia beat Peru, 2-1, backed by a pair of goals from Palmira Loayza.

The top two teams that come out of the second stage advance to the World Cup. The matches on Nov. 17 are Chile versus Colombia and Brazil versus Argentina. The remainder of the schedule is Chile versus Argentina and Brazil verusu Colombia (both on Nov. 19), and Colombia versus Argentina and Brazil verusu Chile (both on Nov. 21).