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Nigeria claim women's African Nations Cup for 10th time in 12 tournaments

Nigeria are the defending AWCON champions, having won the title in 2016.
Nigeria were again crowned African Nations Cup champions on Saturday.

YAOUNDE, Cameroon -- Nigeria scored late to deny Cameroon a home triumph and extend their dominance of the women's African Nations Cup with a 1-0 win in the final on Saturday.

Desire Oparanozie's 84th-minute goal gave defending champions Nigeria their 10th title in 12 tournaments. Only Equatorial Guinea in 2008 and 2012 have managed to wrestle the African crown away from the Nigerian women in the past 25 years.

Cameroon came into this final bristling with confidence after winning all of their group games and knocking out Ghana -- the only team to take points off Nigeria in their group -- in the semifinals.

Spurred on by 40,000 home fans, Cameroon even had the better chances in the final only to end runners-up for the fourth time -- all four to Nigeria, who beat Cameroon 2-0 in the deciding game of the last tournament in 2014.

This game was much tighter and Cameroon was more enterprising in the first half. Striker Madeleine Ngono had a chance in the 33rd minute but she couldn't beat Nigerian goalkeeper Alaba Jonathan when one-on-one.

Nigeria, who survived a couple more chances, were fortunate with their late winner when Ngozi Okobi's pass rebounded off a Cameroon defender and dropped into the path of Oparanozie to score.

That was a knockout blow for the Cameroon team and the home fans, who included Cameroon President Paul Biya, but the tournament overall has been a success for the country. Boosting women's football in Africa, most of the games were played in full stadiums.

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