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Eagles, Black Stars’ battle shifts to Abuja after stalemate in Kumasi

By Gowon Akpodonor
26 March 2022   |   4:15 am
The Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying play-off between the Black Stars of Ghana and Super Eagles of Nigeria failed to produce a winner yesterday at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi.

• Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia Win
•Congo, Morocco Play Draw

The Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying play-off between the Black Stars of Ghana and Super Eagles of Nigeria failed to produce a winner yesterday at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi.

The battle will now shifted to the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, where a winner must emerge on Tuesday.

The Coach Augustine Eguavoen-led Super Eagles failed to take advantage of the scoring chances that came their way in the encounter yesterday. To some Nigerians, the Eagles had themselves to blame for goalless situation.

Nigeria was largely second best as the host, Ghana, dominated for most parts of the game played at the very loud and packed Baba Yara Stadium.

While the Black Stars had most of the ball, they failed to beat Francis Uzoho in goal for the Super Eagles despite some tense moments deep into the second half.

The Eagles had to wait until the 37th minute for their first real attempt on goal, a rather half chance from Victor Osimhen, who was handed the starting berth after missing the AFCON tournament in Cameroun.

In the 55th minutes, Nigeria got another chance when Moses Simon was put through on goal, but with the goalkeeper at his mercy, the Nantes man, who was later subbed off with 18 minutes left to play, shot straight at the goalkeeper, who saved with his foot.

A penalty was given to the Super Eagles towards the end of the second half, when Idrissu Baba handled the ball in Ghana area, but the referee changed his mind after looking at the replay. He decided that Idrissu was fouled in the build-up.

Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Okocha, said yesterday that the 0-0 draw in Kumasi was a huge advantage for the Super Eagles ahead the second leg in Abuja on Tuesday.

Algeria took a step closer to the Qatar 2022 World Cup yesterday by completing an ‘mission impossible’ in Cameroun. The North Africans won 1-0. The Fennecs scored late in the first half and comfortably held on to their lead throughout the second half.

The 2019 AFCON champions will now head back to Algeria with a precious away goal, and a one-nil lead in the tie. Algeria have not lost a home match at Stade Mustapha Tchaker stadium in Blida since they started playing at the venue in 2004 – a run that spans over 40 matches.

In Bamako, Tunisia defeated their host, Eagles of Mali 1-0 in the first leg of their tie yesterday.

The Carthage Eagles will fly home with a very important victory. The Tunisians held their ground against the hosts, who despite being reduced to ten men, created the better chances in the second half.

The match between DR Congo and Morocco ended in a 1-1 draw with Sissoko scoring an own goal. The visitors, Morocco, lost a penalty, thereby throwing away their chances of winning the match.

In Cairo, the Pharaohs of Egypt grabbed a 1-0 victory against African champions, Senegal.