Nigeria did enough to secure a place in the last four of the Wafu Cup of Nations by defeating hosts Ghana 2-0 on Monday.
A 53rd minute effort from Anthony Okpotu gave Salisu Yusuf’s men the initiative, before Peter Eneji struck the decisive blow to dim the Black Stars and also hand the Super Eagles their first victory after two games.
Coming into the Group A clash, Nigeria knew a win or nothing would be enough to seal qualification – not minding the outcome between Guinea and Mali – whereas Ghana have emerged as group winners.
As in the first half, Nigeria weathered pressure and finished stronger – Vincent Atingah’s goal-line clearance and further heroics from goalkeeper Addo denying Friday Ubong and Okpotu an early lead.
In the midst of this, the Black Stars suffered a big set-back as Isaac Twum left the field injured, and was subsequently replaced by Ahmed Adams.
But the hosts came agonisingly close to leading with 15 minutes left in the first half as Emmanuel Lomotey strong header off a corner kissed the crossbar.
In the second half, Yusuf's men continued to have the better of the play and this paid off when Okpotu dashed into the Ghanaians penalty area, dismissed his markers and fired home the curtain raiser.
Ghana's defence became disjointed and three minutes later, they let in the second goal thanks to Eneji’s unstoppable missile.
The hosts continued to battle away and were left feeling aggrieved as a penalty appeal was turned down when one of their strikers went down under a slight challenge.
With this, the Super Eagles finished as runners-up in Group A and will wait till Tuesday evening to know their foes in the semis.
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