CHAN2014: 10-man Ghana denies Nigeria Final Berth
Ten man Ghanaian Black Stars denied Nigeria the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) final ticket with a 4-1 penalty shoot-out victory at the Cape Town Stadium.
The much anticipated clash between the West African rivals began on a very competitive note with the Black Stars going for the attack right from the blast of the referee Sikazwe’s whistle.
Ghana launched the first real threat as Bansey eased past two Nigerian defenders to hit his shot at Agbim’s goal but his effort went just two wide.
In the fourth minute, the stadium was thrown into confusion as Nigeria’s stand-out man in this competition Ejike Uzoenyi went unconscious after having a collision with a Ghanaian defender in an attempt to win an aerial ball.
The Black Stars were in cruise control for more than 15 minutes of the first half but rarely threatened the Nigerian goalkeeper thanks to a more composed defence anchored by Kunle Odunlami.
Super Eagles first chance to score came in the 10th minute when Abubakar Ibrahim almost converted a freekick taken following Yahaya Mohammed’s foul on Abdullahi Shehu of Nigeria.
Few minutes later- in the 26th minute to be precise, Nigeria very nearly went ahead through Abdulahi as his long range missile bounces off the Ghanaian cross bar – a result of a counter-attacking move orchestrated by Ugonna Uzochukwu after the Black stars’ corner was cleared away by Egwuekwe.
The Ghanaian team was reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute as Kwabena Adusei got his second caution of the night following a rough challenge on Nigeria’s Abubakar.
Keshi brought on Barnabas Imenger for Ifeanyi Ede who had a below par performance to take advantage of the opponent’s deficit but the Black Star looked rock solid as they thwarted every attacking moves of the Eagles.
Uzoenyi picked out Kwambe’s clever run in behind the Ghana defence with a measured chip into the area and the Nigeria No.7 controlled the ball on his chest before flicking it goalwards. Stephen Adams saved well with his outstretched left arm but Imenger was not on hand to slice home the rebound.
With both sides horribly devoid of ideas, extra time appeared inevitable. Imenger was the culprit in the first half of extra time as he failed on three occasions to put Nigeria ahead.