Thursday WAFU Women’s Cup Group B openers panned out as anticipated with Senegal and Nigeria winning their ties.
They struggled against a Mali side that landed in hosting city Abidjan hours to kick off after replacing Benin who withdrew at the eleventh hour.
The Malians managed to hold a well-rested Nigeria to a scoreless draw for the better part of the match.
But substitute Peace Efih, 17, finally broke the deadlock, heading home at the death to fire Nigeria to victory.
Earlier, Mariama Diedhiou bagged a brace in Senegal’s 6–0 thrashing of Togo, marking a return to international stage after close to a decade.
Astou Ngom opened the scoring in the 7th minute the Lionesses of Teranga, who donned the nation’s new Puma kit designed ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
A swift counter a minute later saw the Togolese earn a penalty but Monsirietou Adinda’s shot was comfortably saved by Senegal’s custodian.
Senegal gladly punished Togo for the miss with Mariama Diedhiou scoring from close range to double the lead.
Safiatou Sagna then added a third in the 28th minute before Diedhiou completed her brace at the break.
Two quick goals by Player of the Match Mama Diop and Awa Ndeye after the breather wrapped up the rout.
Action continues on Friday with Ghana facing Niger in a must-win match after falling to Ivory Coast in their opener.
The duel should be a comfortable win for the Black Queens, as Niger, like Togo, are playing their first set of matches in about a decade.
Clash of the day on Friday will be the battle of supremacy in Group A as leaders Burkina Faso take on hosts Ivory Coast.