Nigeria 1-1 Ghana: Thomas Partey led Black stars held the Super Eagles to a 1-1 draw at M.K.O Abiola Stadium, Abuja to book their place in the World Cup.
Ghana held Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in the Africa third-round 2022 World Cup qualification at the M.K.O Abiola Stadium, Abuja thus securing their spot in the competition that will be held in Qatar.
The first leg in Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi ended 0-0 last Friday night, and goals from Thomas Partey and William Troost-Ekong ensured the return game also ended all square, leaving the tie 1-1 on aggregate after 180 minutes, but the Black Stars won the ticket to Qatar 2022 on the away goals rule. As a result, the Super Eagles will miss the World Cup for the first time since 2006.
In comparison to the first leg, Nigeria coach Augustine Eguavoen made five changes to his starting lineup, bringing in Oghenekaro Etebo, Calvin Bassey, Frank Onyeka, Ademola Lookman, and Emmanuel Dennis, while Ghana coach Otto Addo stuck with the XI that started in Kumasi.
The Black Stars shocked the packed stadium by taking the lead after just 11 minutes: Thomas Partey fired a low, long-range effort that Francis Uzoho should have saved, but the goalkeeper botched his save and allowed the ball to deflect off his body and into the net.
Nigeria sought a quick response, and Victor Osimhen flashed a shot across the face of goal from the right side of the penalty area a short time later, while the hosts launched a sustained attack in the 18th minute that included a penalty appeal from Lookman and a shot that required a sharp save from goalkeeper Joe Wollacott.
On the advice of VAR, referee Sadok Selmi then went to the sidelines and was persuaded by replays to award the Super Eagles a debatable penalty for a challenge by Dennis Odoi on Lookman.
On 22 minutes, captain William Troost-Ekong took the penalty kick and fired into the top corner to tie the game at one.
On 34 minutes, a long ball from midfield put Osimhen in behind the defence, with the striker then bursting past Wollacott’s challenge before turning the ball into an empty net, but the goal was ruled out for offside by VAR.
The Super Eagles kept the pressure on right up until halftime, giving Wollacott a few nervous moments in the process, but the teams were still tied at 1-1 at the break.
At the start of the second half, Ghana made three substitutions, with Daniel Kyereh, Elisha Owusu, and Andy Yiadom replacing Jordan Ayew, Baba Iddrisu, and Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, and Nigeria’s Abdullahi Shehu replacing the injured Onyeka.
The Black Stars made a promising start to the second half, but the Super Eagles quickly regained control and increased their attacking pressure, with Emmanuel Dennis heading narrowly wide from a corner kick on 55 minutes, followed by Osimhen’s acrobatic volley that flashed just over the crossbar.
The hosts boosted their attack with the introduction of tricky winger Moses Simon off the bench just after the hour mark, but Ghana stood firm in defence and continued to frustrate the team in green and white – with anxiety slowly building in the packed stands.
Nigeria had another roll of the dice with just over 10 minutes of regulation time left to play, as veterans Odion Ighalo and Ahmed Musa were introduced off the bench to replace Dennis and Etebo, while Osimhen had another spectacular volleyed effort on 84 minutes but again he failed to find the target.
That was the closest the Super Eagles came to a late winner, with Ghana’s perseverance holding out to secure a draw and a spot in the global showpiece, which will be held in November and December later this year.
Ghana’s fourth successful World Cup qualification campaign sees them return to the tournament, following appearances in 2006, 2010, and 2014.
Ghana secured the ticket courtesy of the away goal rule.
- 62% Ball Possession 38%
- 20 Goal Attempts 6
- 5 Shots on Goal 1
- 15 Shots off Goal 5
- 0 Goalkeeper Saves 4
- 1 Yellow Cards 4
- 96 Attacks 7
- 61 Dangerous Attacks 26
Uzoho, Aina, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Bassey (Umar 88’), Etebo (Ahmed Musa 78’), Onyeka (Shehu 46’), Joe Aribo, Lookman (Moses Simon 61’), Odafe Dennis (Odion Ighalo 78’), Victor Osimhen
Wollacott, Odoi, Amartey, Djiku, G. Mensah, Thomas Partey, Iddrisu (Yiadom 46’), Kudus (Bukari 73’), Issahaku (Kyereh 46’), Afena-Gyan (Wriedt 90’), J. Ayew (Owusu 46’)