10-man Ghana stun Nigeria
30 January 2014, 08:16
Bloemfontein - Ten-man Ghana shocked Nigeria 4-1 on penalties after a goalless semi-final at the end of extra time at the Free State Stadium to advance to the 2014 CHAN final.
Ghana will face Libya in the final on Saturday in Cape Town as they head into their second final after losing out to DR Congo in the 2009.
Successful spot kicks by Michael Akuffo, Theohilus Anobaah, Samuel Ainooson and the clincher from Abraham Attobrah sent Ghana through.
Nigeria's solitary penalty was converted by Christantus Ejike while Ghana goalkeeper Stephen Adams saved Solomon Kwambe's spot kick before Ugonna Uzochukwu blasted his spot high and over to dim the Super Eagles dreams.
Meanwhile, there was little to separate the two sides in the first half of this West African derby although the Super Eagles had the Lion’s share of opportunities while Ghana enjoyed the possession and territory.
Ghana were first to sample the target through Seidu Bansey in the second minute when he blasted a shot from halfway inside the Super Eagles area that veered just wide of goal.
The Super Eagles suffered a scare in the fourth minute when they star player Christantus Ejike was left concussed after a clash with defender Kwabena Adusei, although the latter came off unscathed.
But much to Nigerians relief, the striker was able to continue and came back on the pitch in the eight minute.
Nigeria's first great chance came in the 11th minute, but striker Abubakar Ibrahim’s overhead kick on the near post smashed into the side netting.
Ibrahim had another chance in the 26th to break the monotony with a booming strike from just inside Ghana’s own area but his effort came off the woodwork with Stephen Adams beaten before the game fizzled off into the break.
Two minutes into the second half, Adams sprung to Ghana's rescue to parry Ugonna Uzochukwu’s flick off a Solomon Kwambe throw-in as Nigeria pumped up the pressure and in the 52nd minute Ifeanyi Ede powered past two Ghana defenders and into the box, but blasted his shot wide.
Ghana then suffered a setback in the 64th minutes when defender Kwabena Abdesuei was sent off for a second booking after foul on Ibrahim.
But Ghana had one great chance in the 82nd minute wasted when Nuru Sulley headed a set piece spectacularly wide of an inviting goalmouth.
Extra time also ended in a stalemate, but Ghana had an hawk-eyed Referee Jani Sikwaze to thank after he rightly ruled out a Nigeria penalty call after Barnabas Imenger went down without any contact in the box.
A minute later, Imenger blasted high from close range after Abdullahi Shehu rolled the ball into his path with Adams beaten.
Adams then made a dramatic 120th save off the line before Sikazwe called time for the penalty shootout.
*Ghana win 4-1 on post-match penalties
Ghana: S.Adams,K.Adusei, S.Ainooson, M.Akuffo,J.Opoku (S.Mohammed), S.Bansey (A.Mohammed), A.Attobrah, T.Anobaah, J.Tijani, N.Sulley, Y.Mohammed (S.Afful)
Nigeria: C.Agbim, K.Solomon, U.Uzochukwu, K.Odunlami,A.Egwuekwe, C.Ejike, R.Ali (J.Obaje),A.Ibrahim (D.Pyagbara), B.Eseme, A.Shehu, I.Ede (B.Imenger)