Ghana ends Super Eagles CHAN dream

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pretoria - The Black Stars of Ghana overcame Nigeria to reach their second Orange African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals after their 4-1 victory in a penalty shoot-out at Free State Stadium on Wednesday night.

The match had ended goalless and Ghana played for over 50 minutes with 10 men after Kwabena Adusei got a second yellow card for a poor challenge on Abubakar Ibrahim.

However, the Black Stars showed character when they refused to be booted out by their fellow West Africans, the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Ghana reached and lost the first CHAN final in 2009 to DR Congo.

The Black Stars will now face the Mediterranean Knights, Libya, who reached the final after beating Zimbabwe 5-4 on penalties in the first semi-final match, which also ended without a goal after extra-time.

Samuel Ainooson was at the heart of the solid work done by the Ghanaian defence and his efforts earned him the Man of the Match award.

However, his goalkeeper Stephen Adams’s last minute brilliant save in extra time from an Ugonna Uzochukwu header kept the West African’s hope alive.

Adams dived down to push the goal-bound header over the bar and before a corner kick could be taken, it was time for penalties.

The Black Stars goal stopper was a hero when he saved Kwambe Solomon’s spot kick, while Uzochukwu sent his effort over the crossbar. Ghana converted all four kicks.

Following this heart-breaking defeat, Nigeria will now play the Warriors of Zimbabwe for the bronze medal on Saturday at 5pm before the final between Ghana and Libya at Cape Town Stadium at 8pm.

Nigeria were 3-0 down at half time against Morocco in their quarter-final encounter in Cape Town before coming back to record a 4-3 win after extra time.

Ghana enjoyed an easier route to the last four, with Kwabena Adusei netting a second-half penalty in their 1-0 over DR Congo.

Nigeria XI: Agbim; Solomon, Odunlami, Egwuekwe, Eseme; Uzochukwu, Ali, Shehu; Ejike, Ibrahim, Ede.

Ghana XI: Adams; Abusei, Ainooson, Tijani, Sulley; Akuffo, Opoku, Attobrah; Bansey, Anobaah, Mohammed.