Nigeria beat Ghana 2-0, qualify for ninth AYC final
Nigeria’s under-20 team, Flying Eagles, yesterday defeated perennial rivals, Ghana 2-0, to qualify for a record ninth African Youth Championship.
Yesterday’s victory in Dakar, Senegal, however, was not unexpected, as the young Nigerians had beaten the Ghanaians two months ago in a friendly in Accra.
Coming into the game, the Flying Eagles, peopled by a majority of the boys that won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the UAE two years ago, had the reputation of a side that was used to winning big games. And they lived up to the billing with a goal each from Obinna Nwobodo and Musa Muhammed in the first and second half respectively.
Ghana, however, were no push over as they proved to be Nigeria’s toughest opponent so far in the competition. The Ghanaians tight marked the Flying Eagles to the extent that it took the Manu Garba boys until midway into the game to find their rhythm. But when they did, there was no holding back as Taiwo Awoniyi, Ifeanyi Mathew and Obinna Nwobodo finally found the answer to Yaw Yeboah and lanky forward Benjamin Tetteh’s swashbuckiling style.
Nigeria broke the deadlock in the 22nd sup minute when Nwobodo’s glancing header off a Musa Mohammed corner beat Goalkeeper Michael Sai.
Skipper Musa Mohammed put the game beyond the Black Satellites in the 70th through a penalty kick awarded when a Ghanaian defender, Patrick Asmah, upended Ifeanyi Mathew in the box.
With yesterday’s, Nigeria qualified for their ninth final of the competition and await the winner of today’s second semifinal between Senegal and Mali.
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