CHAN: Ghana setup Libya final after seeing off Nigeria in the shoot-out
Ghana will meet Libya in the final of the CAF African Nations Champions (CHAN) after beating Nigeria 4-1 on penalties after a goalless open play at the Free State Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Black Stars kept Nigeria at bay despite playing with 10-man for over 45 minutes of 120 minutes in a match that chances were few and far between as goalkeepers didn’t produce much saves throughout the match.
Libya, who also needed penalties to get past Zimbabwe 5-4 in the other semi-final earlier on the day, will collide with the Black Stars at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, 1st of February, kickoff at 20:00 CAT.
Ghana started the better side and threatened early on when Samuel Ainooson found Seidu Bansey just outside the area, who chest trapped the ball before firing whisker wide of the post barely two minutes into the match.
Afterwards both side failed to create decent chances, as both defence didn’t allow the opposition attack much possession despite the ball moving fast in middle of the park.
Nigeria knew the odds will be against them when they face Ghana, as they haven’t beaten the Black Stars for some time, and they almost gave themselves hope of breaking the record when Abubakar Ibrahim unleashed a pile-driver from 35-yards but his effort rattled the crossbar with the goalkeeper Stephen Adams well beaten in the 27th minutes.
That chance was the last in the half, as both teams went the half-time break locked at 0-0 after a dull first 45 minutes.
Nigeria were the ones who started the second-half in a better way, and they had a penalty waved away by referee when Ifeanyi Ede showed a great composure from the right to penetrate past three defenders before he looked to been clipped under the challenge of Ghana defender two minutes from the restart.
The Super Eagles striker had another chance five minutes later but skied his effort from inside the area as the man in green and white went in search of the opener. In the 64th minutes, Ghana were reduced to 10-man when Kwabena Adusei was shown his second yellow card after his clumsy challenge on Abubacar Ibrahim.
Nigeria went on to struggle to break the stubborn defence of Ghana despite having an extra-man. Ghana coach Maxwell Konadu sacrificed a striker Seidu Bansey for midfielder Abdul Mohammed as he looked to balance his side midway point of the second-half.
The Super Eagles threw everything they could at Ghana, but the one-man down team stood firm at the back and not allow their opposition to dominate as both sides needed extra-time to determine the winner.
The extra 30 minutes looked to be alive from the start as both sides wanted to avoid penalty shoot-out, and Nigeria has the first chance in the 98th minutes when Abdullah Shehu cut-back the ball for Imenger Barnabas who shot over the bar while unbalance from close range.
Imenga Barnabas missed another glorious opportunity in the second 15 minutes of extra-time when he flashed wide a low shot after a clever through ball by Christantus Ejike in the 118th minutes. Then Ghana ‘keeper Stephen Adams pulled off a great save in 120th minutes when he kept out close range header by Imenger Barnabas as penalty shoot-out followed.
Nigeria Successful penalties: Ejike
unsuccessful penalties: Kwambe, Uzochukwu
Ghana successful penalties: Akuffo, Anobaah, Ainooson, Attobrah
Ghana: Adams, Tijari, Adusei, Sulley, Ainooson, Anobaah, Akuffo, Opoku © (Sulley 115’), Attobrah, Mohammed (Afful 55’), Bansey (A. Mohammed 75’)
Nigeria: Agbim ©, Eseme, Kunle, Egwuekwe, Kwambe, Ejike, Shehu, Ali (Obaje 81’), Uzochukwu, Ibrahim (Pyagbara 113’), Ifeanyi (Barnabas 62’).