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Black Queens advance to next round of Olympic qualifiers after beating Benin

The Black Queens of Ghana have secured their place in the third round of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers after defeating Benin 2-0 in the second leg of their encounter at the Accra Sports Stadium on Tuesday, October 31, 2023. The Ghanaians won the first leg 3-0 in Cotonou last Friday, making the aggregate score 5-0 in their favour.

Dominant performance by Ghana

The Black Queens dominated the game from the start, creating several chances to score. However, they met a resilient Benin defence that thwarted their attempts. Benin also posed some threats on the counter-attack, but Ghana’s goalkeeper Cynthia Findiib was alert to keep a clean sheet.

The breakthrough came in the 66th minute when Evelyn Badu scored from a scramble in the box after a corner kick. Badu was Ghana’s most influential player, orchestrating the attacks from the midfield. A minute later, she forced an own goal from a Benin defender who tried to clear her cross.

Black Queens advance to next round of Olympic qualifiers after beating Benin

The Black Queens continued to press for more goals, but Benin’s goalkeeper Alassane Sowiaratou made some fine saves to keep the scoreline respectable. The final whistle confirmed Ghana’s victory and qualification to the next round.

Impressive record under coach Hauptle

The Black Queens have been impressive under their Swiss coach Nora Hauptle, who took over in July 2023. They have won nine consecutive matches, scoring 31 goals and conceding none. They have also shown a lot of creativity and flair in their play, earning praise from fans and pundits.

Hauptle expressed her satisfaction with the performance of her team and thanked the supporters for their encouragement. She said that the team was focused on achieving their goal of qualifying for the Olympics for the first time in history.

“We are happy with the result and the qualification. We played well and showed our quality. We are grateful to the fans for their support. We have a big dream of going to Paris and we will work hard to make it happen,” she said.

Next challenge: Zambia

The Black Queens will face Zambia in the third round of the qualifiers in February 2024. Zambia had a walkover in the second round after their opponents Congo withdrew from the competition. Zambia are ranked 10th in Africa, while Ghana are ranked 4th.

The two teams have met twice before, with Ghana winning both matches. The last encounter was in November 2022 at the Africa Women Cup of Nations in Morocco, where Ghana won 2-1 with goals from Alice Kusi and Portia Boakye.

However, Zambia have improved a lot since then and have some talented players such as Barbara Banda, Rachael Kundananji and Grace Chanda. They will pose a tough challenge for Ghana and will not give up easily.

The winner of the tie will advance to the fourth round, where they will meet either Cameroon or Ivory Coast. The fifth and final round will determine the two teams that will represent Africa at the Olympics.

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