The Black Meteors, Ghana's national under 23 team, were yesterday held to a heart breaking goalless draw game by the Flying Eagles of Nigeria, in the Olympic Games Qualifier at the refurbished Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra.
The Nigerians executed to perfection a well rehearsed plan aimed at picking at least a draw, in a bid to enhance their chances of grabbing the sole ticket in Group A.
Aided by a crafty goalkeeper, Ambrose Vanzekin, a well-composed defensive system of the Nigerians rebuffed all attempts by the Ghanaian side at goal whilst the midfield remained the dominant territory of the visiting team through out the game.
The Meteors on countless occasions created decent chances that could have earned them the winner but a three-man strike force of Asamoah Gyan, Prince Tagoe and Iddrisu Nafiu with a back up from Michael Helegbe denied the nation a smile.
Solomon Okoronkwo and Chinedu Ogbuke earlier missed two glorious opportunities of the Flying Eagles in the 11th and 14th minutes respectively.
Ghana could have taken the lead in the 39th minute, through Iddrissu who after capitalising on offside trap delivered a feeble shot, which was easily handled by Vanzekin ending the first half on barren note.
The Nigerians on resumption of play, attempted to find the net as Ogbuke took away the ball from complacent Isaac Vorsah but his wide shot ensured that the game remained barren. A beautiful combination of efforts by Okoronkwo and Ogbuke went wasted in the 52nd minute.
The Meteors responded positively to every challenge from the Nigerians and created goal scoring chances, which were all saved by the Nigerian goalie.
However Ghana's best chance of carrying the day occurred in the second half, when Daniel Addo broke freely into the Nigerian defence and had only the keeper to beat but could only deliver a weak shot which was easily saved by the goalie.
An attempt by coach Jones Attuquayefio to strengthen his side saw the introduction of Addo, Obed Ansah and Kwadjo Asamoah but that did not yield any dividend as they remained blunt in front of goal.
The Meteors who needed a win to secure the sole ticket for the Beijing Games in China, never converted the chances that came their way. As the game progressed it was evident that, the strategy of the Nigerians to hold their Ghanaians counterparts to a draw was going to yield results. Not even five minutes of added time could turn the fortunes of Ghana.
With a seemingly easy game against Amagluglug of South Africa in Nigeria, only miracle could deny the Nigerians the chance of appearing at the next Olympic Games as a win will credit them with nine points to top Group A, next year March.