- Published on Monday, 18 September 2017 21:20
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By George Akpayen
The Super Eagles defeated the Black Stars of Ghana 2-0 in their last group game at the Cape Coast Stadium to seal passage into the last four at the Wafu Cup of Nations on Monday.
Salisu Yusuf’s men needed four odd minutes in the second half to put the bed and beyond their Ghanaian opponents as Anthony Okpotu and Peter Eneji scored the goals.
Ghana made just a change to the team that defeated Mali. Emmanuel Ampiah started in place of Thomas Abbey.
Nigeria made five adjustment to the side which played 0-0 with Guinea. Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Chima Akas, Rabiu Ali, Stephen Eze and Ubong Friday all took the places of Dele Ajiboye, Daniel James Itodo, Destiny Ashadi, Emmanuel Ariwachukwu and Kingsley Eduwo respectively.
But before the kickoff, the Twitter handles of the Ghanaian top division, the Ghana Premier League and that of their West African rivals, the Nigeria Professional Football League (NFPL) got involved in a healthy banter started by the former.
Six minutes into the contest, Friday failed to open scoring for Nigeria after he was presented with a very good chance with Ghana goalkeeper Joseph Addo to beat. The Akwa United man missed target and it looked like Nigeria would have to wait longer before getting a first goal at the tournament.
A minute later Ghana coach Maxwell Konadu was forced to make a substitution. Injured Isaac Twum make way for Ahmed Adams.
At the Nduom Sports Stadium in Elmina, Guinea took the lead in a must-win game against Mali through Camara Abdoulaye to pile pressure on Nigeria who with that scoreline needed to beat Ghana.
Then Addo had to make two saves in quick succession to deny Nigeria from taking the lead.
Plateau United winger Peter Moses Eneji was all over the Ghana defence and on one such occasions, he forced Addo into a save.
Ali, Eneji and Friday tried to set up Okpotu at different times but had their passes thwarted by good defending by Ghana or they overhit their attempts in finding the Lobi Stars man.
Nigeria, however, needed only eight minutes into the second half to take the lead. Okpotu did well to hold off his marker before firing home from close range.
The celebration of Okpotu’s goal had died down and Eneji finished off a fantastic team move to make it two-nil. The goals surely gave Nigeria the momentum and they looked comfortable for the remainder of the match.
The win ensures Nigeria finished second behind Ghana as both countries await the winners and runners-up of Group B in the semi-finals.
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