Stars Conquer In Niamey
Black Stars made it to the second stage of the qualifying series of the Africa Nations Championship when they beat their Nigerien counterparts 2-1 in Niamey yesterday.
Two goals by enterprising striker, Emmanuel Osei Banahene, was all that the Ghanaians needed to qualify on a 4-1 aggregate to qualify to face Togo.The game against Togo is scheduled for November this year.
The Ghanaians won the first leg played at the Tamale Sports Stadium 2-1. Spurred on by a massive support from thousands of Ghanaians domiciled in Niger, the Black Stars easily overwhelmed their opponents and could have registered a heavy scoreline in the game if they had utilised their chances.
Playing under a scorching sun, the Ghanaians beat off an earlier onslaught by the homesters and tried to carry the fight to the half of their opponents but good goalkeeping on the part of the Nigerien goalkeeper robbed the Stars of an early lead.
With skipper Edmund Owusu-Ansah, Agyemang Badu and Jordan Opoku combining effectively, the Ghanaians kept the heat on the Nigeriens but on several occasions some good defensive play from Oumar Karim frustrated Banahene and Eric Bekoe in the vital area.
In the 20th minute Ghanaian-born Musah Nelson broke loose from the Stars defence but goalkeeper Fatau Daudu came off his line to save the situation.
Stars maintained their dominance and in the 45th minute Banahene sent the thousands of Ghanaians at the stadium roaring with excitment when he tapped a brilliant cross from Badu into the net for the first goal.
The second half resumed with the Stars still on top, and 15 minutes into the half Banahene, who is fast establishing himself as the team's top scorer, nodded home at close range.
The Nigeriens pulled a goal back in the dying minutes of the game when Aminou Chibou dribbled the entire Ghanaian defence to hit past goalkeeper Fatau. The Stars had a good opportunity to increase the tally on the stroke of half time when Francis Akwafo grazed the post at close range.