Ghana/Nigeria: Nigeria, Ghana All Square in West African Derby

Ghana held holders Nigeria to a one-all draw in the second Group B match played on Wednesday in Limbe as the two sides went square on four points after two rounds of matches.

Nigeria’s Super Falcons were not as sleek as they were in their opening 6-0 win over Mali and they were much subdued by a resilient and determined Ghana.

The defending champions looking for a win to book an early ticket to the semi-finals had a great start and they got into the lead in the 19th minute when Cynthia Adobia turned Asisat Oshoala’s shot into her own net.

Ghana however equalized from the spot three minutes from the break through skipper Elizabeth Addo, who was fouled by Halimat Ayinde in the vital area.

Both teams stepped up in the second half and the match blew into a full contest. Nigeria started off by bringing in Swedish based midfielder Ngozi Okobi for captain Rita Chikwelu.

The holders had started with pace and on the half hour mark they came close with Osarenoma Igbinovia’s free-kick from the edge of the box being palmed away by the Ghanaian keeper.

Four minutes later, Oshoala should have scored her fifth of the tournament but she could not get a connection onto a Francisca Ordega cross from the left after a swift interchange of passes from midfield.

The Ghanaians came to life in the final quarter of the match and on 75 minutes, Samira Suleman’s tap from a Cynthia Adjei cross went wide with the Nigerian defense left in sixes and sevens. Two minutes later, Safia Abdul Rahman sent substitute Florence Dadson through on goal, but the Nigerian shot stopper Alaba Jonathan was quick off her line to pick up the ball.

Nigeria thought they should have had a penalty in the 89th minute after Oshoala appeared to have gone down under a challenge from the Ghanaian keeper, but the referee waved play on.

Nigeria now need to convincingly beat Kenya in their final group match to assure themselves of the top spot. Ghana play Mali in their final match also on Saturday in Yaounde and they will also hope to win by a convincing margin as they are currently second in the group with an inferior goal difference.

Source: Confederation of African Football.