Ghana have qualified for the 2023 African Nations Championship after defeating Nigeria 5-4 on penalties after the aggregate score stood at 2-2 after Saturday’s second leg second round qualifying fixture.
Goals from Zulkifilu Muhammed and Chijioke Akuneto ensured Salisu Yusuf’s men cancelled out the first leg deficit, but that was not enough to send them to Algeria 2023.
Fuelled by their two-goal advantage, the Black Galaxies went to the M.K.O Abiola Stadium knowing a slim defeat would be enough to see them through.
Although they showed promise at the beginning of the encounter, goalkeeper Adeyinka Adewale was rarely threatened with Kazie Enyinnaya, Hafeez Nosiru, Ebube Duru and Tosin Adegbite keeping things tight in the defence.
The five changes made by coach Yusuf appeared as a good decision but the hosts were unable to get any goals in the first half.
Despite playing in a near empty Abuja Stadium, they stepped up their display in the second half with Annor Walker’s men – for several minutes – pegged in their own half.
Prior to the game, coach Walker disregarded claims Ghana’s first leg victory has handed them an advantage against the Super Eagles.
“As a team, we have discussed the game and mapped up a strategy for Saturday’s game,” he told the Ghana FA website.
“We don’t feel we have any advantage over them and winning Saturday’s match is more important to us that the one we played in Cape Coast.
“After the game on Sunday, we went to intensify our preparations for the return leg.
“We also played a training match against King Faisal to correct the mistakes we identified in the first leg.”
Nigeria have now failed to qualify for the competition for the second consecutive time having missed out on Cameroon 2018.