04.02.2008 Football News

Agogo’s strike sends Ghana into semis

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Hosts Ghana reached the last four of the 26th MTN Africa Cup of Nations after a 2-1 victory over fellow West African rivals Nigeria.

Manuel Agogo scored in the 83rd minute to give ten-man Ghana a deserved win.

The Black Stars had started well with Sulley Muntari coming close in the opening minutes, but it was the Super Eagles who scored first.

Anthony Annan clipped Ikechuku Uche in the vital zone following a goal mouth tussle and the central referee Mohamed Benouza pointed to the spot.

Everton striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni dispatched the spot-kick to put Nigeria in the lead. Ghana fought back and obtained the needed at the stroke of the recess when Micheal Essien headed a Quincy Owusu Abeyie cross.

Ghana coach Claude Leroy renewed confidence in the team that defeated Morocco in their last group match while Berti Vogts stuck with the same starting line up that beat Benin 1-0 in the final Group B clash.

The encounter lived up to its promises as it was a real debacle between the 22 actors.

Tempers ran high from the opening minute of the game when Obinna Nwaneri clashed with Sulley muntari following hard defending from the Nigerian.

It was a fairly balanced first quarter as both sides had missed opportunities. Yakubu squandered at the 4th minute chance after being put through by Uche.

Portsmouth striker Sulley Muntari then came close in the 14th minute after he dazzled his way into penalty area but his effort was cleared by the Nigerian backline.

Ghana then raised their game and began to dominate possession. On the 20-minute mark Quincy Owusu shot wide from the edge of the box and Asamoah Gyan hit the woodwork.

Nigeria also had its fair share of misses with Uche and Yakubu failing to score.

After the break Nigeria began to pressure with Peter Odemwingie looking particularly dangerous. Ghana captain John Mensah was given marching orders on the hour mark after he brought down Peter Odemwingie.

Despite their numerical strength, the Super Eagles failed to sparkle.

The introduction of Obinna Nsofor did little to change the outlook of the game.

The Black Stars rallied around stand-in captain Essien and delivered a spirited performance.

Coach Leroy brought on Laryea Kingston and Haminu Draman which had an impact in the match.

The substitutions paid off in the 83rd minute when Draman served Agogo who scored the winning goal.

The victory means that Ghana will face the winner of the Tunisia Vs Cameroon quarter-final match fixed for Tamale on Monday.


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