Ghana beat Nigeria to reach Chan Final
Posted: 29 January 2014 Time: 23:33
Ghana beat Nigeria 4-1 on penalties after the sides ended goalless after extra-time in the African Nations Championship semi-final at Free State Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Final will be between Ghana and Libya while Nigeria will face Zimbabwe for the bronze medal on Saturday.
The Black Stars played a lot of the match with 10-men after they had Kwabina Adusei sent off in the 64th minute for a second bookable offence.
Neither side were able to dominate in the opening minutes although Nigeria looked the better of the two teams as Ghana stuck to their style of sitting back to defend, while launching attacks from the flanks.
Attobrah came close for Ghana in the 10th minute, but saw his shot deflected for a corner by the Nigerian defence. Abubakar Ibrahim however responded for the Super Eagles two minutes later, he could only managed to strike the side netting
The Ghanaians resorted to brute tackling to curtail the Nigerian attack with both Ejike Uzoenyi and Kunle Odunlami falling victims to heavy challenges inside the opening twenty minutes.
Abubakar was unlucky not to open scoring for Nigeria in the 27th minute, as his long range shot came off the crossbar, with Adams already well beaten.
Abubakar's missed effort sparked Nigeria into action as they ceaselessly attacked the Ghanaians who did well to keep them at bay. Uzoenyi came close to scoring for Nigeria in the 37th minute, but his shot went wide as the game remained goalless going into the break.
The first real chance of the second half fell to Ifeanyi Ede in the 52nd minute as he found his way between two Ghanaian defenders, but the Enyimba frontman could not keep his resulting shot on target.
The game remained a fierce tactical battle between the two sides, with neither of them refusing to break rank until Nigeria were handed a numerical advantage when Ghana's centre-back was deservedly sent off in the 63rd minute for yet another high boot challenge on Abubakar, barely a minute after Imenger came on in place of Ede.
Rabiu Ali missed a chance to put Nigeria ahead as he shot wide after Adams misjudged an Uzoenyi free-kick. Shehu and Esieme also had chances of their own, but their shots were not enough to trouble the Nigerian goalkeeper.
Nigeria continued to pile pressure on Ghana during the dying minutes of the regulation time, but it failed to yield any meaningful result as the game went into extra time.
Ghana's numerical disadvantage did not reflect in the opening minutes of extra time as they managed to push Nigeria backwards with a more purposeful display. Imenger had a penalty appeal turned down in the 96th minute after he wentto ground inside the Ghanaian box.
A minute later, Imenger missed a chance to put Nigeria ahead as his shot went over the bar after good work from Uzoenyi.
Ghana had a rare sight at goal in the second half of extra-time through Afful, but Agbim dealt with the threat very easily, as Christian Pyagbara came on for Abubakar Aliyu a moments later.
Imenger missed a golden opportunity to win the game for Nigeria in the 118th minute as he could only put his shot wide after a good shot from Uzoenyi with the keeper at his mercy. With both teams unable to score after extra-time, the game went into penalties.
Michael Akuffo scored the first spot kick for Ghana, and Uzoenyi levelled for Nigeria. Anobaah and Ainooson converted their respective spot kicks for Ghana, while Kwambe and Uzochukwu missed their kicks for Nigeria. Attobrah converted for Ghana to make it 4-1 in favour of the Black Stars as they booked their place in the final against Libya.
NIGERIA XI: Agbim - Solomon, Odunlami, Egwuekwe, Eseme; Uzochukwu, Ali (Obaje 81), Shehu; Ejike, Ibrahim (Pyagbara 113'), Ede (Imenger 63')
GHANA XI: Adams - Abusei, Ainooson, Tijani, Sulley; Akuffo, Opoku (Sulley Mohammed 115'), Attobrah; Bansey (Abdul Latif 76'), Anobaah, Mohammed (Afful 55')