Nigeria 2-0 Ghana (2-2 agg, 4-5 pen): Super Eagles B lose CHAN ticket to Black Galaxies

Nigeria B defeated Ghana 2-0 but eventually bowed out 5-4 on penalties at the expense of the Black Galaxies of Ghana at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Saturday evening.

Ghana have qualified for the African Nations Championship after defeating Nigeria on penalties after the aggregate score stood at 2-2 after Saturday’s second leg second round qualifying fixture.

The Super Eagles B had suffered a 2-0 first leg in Kumasi, and headed back for the second leg in Nigeria with hopes of qualifying for for the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) to be held in Algeria next year.

The plan worked for large swathes of an encounter dominated by the Eagles B, but two well-taken second half goals by Muhammed Zulkifilu and Chijioke Akuneto drew the fixture level and meant the lottery of penalties would decide the winner.

Substitute Morice Chukwu crashed his kick, Nigera’s third, against the crossbar in the shootout to hand Ghana the ticket to be at next year’s seventh CHAN finals.

Nigeria created a hatful of chances in a ferocious first half, but Babatunde Bello’s long-range shots either failed to find target or were punched away by goalkeeper Ibrahim Danladi, and free headers presented to Valentine Odoh and Zulkifilu were wasted.

The introduction of Akuneto in the second half brought more urgency to Nigeria’s game, and the Eagles B shot ahead in the 77th minute after Zulkifilu connected home gloriously from a pull-out.

With the seconds running out, in the fourth minute of time-added-on, Akuneto powered home after a corner kick was flicked into his path by Samuel Amadi.

Nigeria have now failed to qualify for the competition for the second consecutive time having missed out on Cameroon 2018. And this will be the second occasion this year Ghana will be stopping a national team from Nigeria from qualifying for a major competition. In March, the Black Stars of Ghana denied the Super Eagles a ticket to the World Cup to be held in December in Qatar.

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